Monsoon Moisture Means Muddy Motoring
Rainy Season in Full Swing for Week Ahead
You’ve probably already noticed Colorado’s monsoon season has arrived. This seasonal wind shift that brings a stream of moisture into Colorado from the Gulf of California can often bring more wet, rainy weather to the mountaintops than it might to more arid, lower elevations in the southwest. For Leadville, the forecast for week ahead is calling for daily thunderstorms with overnight temperatures hovering around freezing. Residents and visitors are asked to keep an eye to the sky when planning outdoor adventures and activities.
“Hope to clear out all the tourists with this rain!” posted one Leadville Today reader on Facebook.
No doubt, it’s already been a busy season for Lake County Search and Rescue with a record number of summer visitors camping and recreating in nearby camp areas and woods. Please keep in mind the ten essentials that everyone is encouraged to bring along when enjoying the trails and waterways.
In fact, law enforcement and emergency responder calls are up this summer, so a good round of solid ran might help the present fire danger situation. However monsoonal rains can also create havoc on the roadways, especially in the backcountry where flash flooding and eroded passageways can accelerate pretty quickly.
On Friday, July 24 the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) distributed a media advisory asking that motorists plan for heavy rains this weekend and into next week. Drivers should check the latest weather forecasts and road conditions before traveling.
“Heavy monsoonal rains and summer storms can lead to challenging driving conditions,” explained the state’s highway department. “Colorado highways, particularly those in mountainous areas, can be vulnerable to the impacts of weather and natural emergencies.”
In fact, some roadways have already experienced incidents of flash flooding, mudslides and rockfalls over the past few weeks. These events can cause major dilemmas for the traveling public and CDOT maintenance crews.
It is important that the traveling public be aware of summer weather conditions and forecasts. Just as motorists prepare for driving in the winter time, during summer months, travelers should also be ready for heavy rainstorms, hail storms, and what can potentially occur after those storms – flooding, mudslides and falling rocks.
When motorists drive up onto a flooded area, there are several precautions to follow.
- Never drive through any flooded area, you do not know how deep or how fast the water is running.
- Even 8-10 inches of water can float an average-sized car, which can be easily swept off the road.
- Driving too fast on wet roads or in flooded areas can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Never use your cruise control during rainy conditions with standing water on the roadway.
- Any amount of flooding or mud can obstruct the roadway and hinder drivers from knowing exactly where to drive. If you cannot see the roadway, be smart and wait for the water to subside.
- Water and mud can contain unknown hazards hidden under the surface – rocks or other debris, like plant material and tree branches.
CLOSURES MAY BE NEEDED
When CDOT determines that a road must be closed, the decision is made to protect everyone, including motorists and response crews. The need for some closures is obvious – mudslides cover the highway or large boulders tumble onto the road. But some closures may also be needed for an area that appears to be less impacted or less obvious of the required shut-down. The I-70 mountain corridor is a prime example: some sections of the interstate curve through narrow canyons, and the lanes can be divided by concrete barriers or portions of the roadway split with elevated levels. Because of these features, the closure may be needed miles away from the actual incident, so that exits and alternate routes can be accessed. It may also limit the possibilities to turn traffic around.
If you are stuck in a closure waiting for a road to be cleared of mud or rocks, do not leave your car unless absolutely necessary. Never hang out in the grassy median located between lanes. If traffic is moving in the opposite direction, the median can be a hazardous area. Emergency response vehicles and heavy equipment may also need the median area to move about and access the emergency scene.
Lengthy closures on the interstate may also be the result of staged releases. As stopped traffic backs up, creating long lines, traffic will be let go in stages, allowing traffic queues ahead to clear, before releasing more traffic.
Highway closures can last for as little as a few minutes or for as long as several hours. When drivers set out on a trip, especially through high country roads or the I-70 mountain corridor, it would be wise to have the car supplied with an emergency kit. The kit should contain at the very minimum: water, snacks, flashlight, and a blanket. Remember to also carry water for your pets if you’re traveling with animals. You may even consider packing some items to keep you or children occupied while waiting in the car. Activity books, colored pencils or a deck of cards can help pass the time.
Ten Year Rollback on Season Pa$$
Leadville Today readers have one more week to take advantage of the Ski Cooper 2020/21 Ski Pass SALE now through the end of the month. With a rollback in pricing of 10 years, this is an exciting sale. If you haven’t gotten your pass yet, now is a great time to get set up for an amazing season.
According to Director of Marketing & Sales, Dana Tyler Johnson, Cooper also continues to add season pass partners where pass holders can experience different resorts from Alaska to Maine. Check out the slopes close by at Monarch, Sunlight & Powderhorn. Or make a trip of it and hit Brundage & Bogus Basin. You could also ski with friends in the Midwest or the Northeast! These bonus days come with your Cooper Season Pass for ages 6-74.
If you were a 2019-20 Season Pass Holder you should have already received a coupon code for your bonus $50 discount. If not, please reach out to email@example.com. Once verified, you will receive your code. Visit the Ski Cooper website for more information.