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The water’s receding

June 28, 2011

The warnings were dire. So much water was sequestered in the record snowpack in the mountains upstream, the reservoirs wouldn’t be able to hold it all. As soon as the ice was off the North Platte River, Bureau of Reclamation managers started releasing water as fast as they could.

The river began to rise and widen and swallow the land.

This photo was taken May 14 looking west and south towards the bluff. I wanted to get back to re-photograph this spot when the water rose higher, but I never had a chance. I'm sure the picnic table was at least partly submerged.

My poor Monument Valley Pathway! Several portions near the river have been underwater for months.

The section of pathway under the Broadway / 10th Street bridge near the YMCA tends to flood first. This photo was taken May 14, looking east.

The portion of pathway under the 5 Rocks Road / Ave I bridge is also prone to flooding. This photo was taken May 29 looking east. To the right is the river channel. To the left of the strip of greenery, the posts of what I recall to be a two-rail fence are still visible above the floodwaters.

I hope the pathway isn’t too badly damaged by the water’s scour.

Many homeowners and downtown Scottsbluff businesses got water in their basements from the rising groundwater. Riverside Park closed, as did the zoo.

Residents in a Terrytown neighborhood south of the river were warned of possible evacuations. Water in Terry’s Lake, a former gravel pit, began to rise, likely from both heavy rains and groundwater intrusion.

The parking lot on the south side of Terry's Lake on May 14.

The parking lot was accommodating geese rather than vehicles.


The park parking lot June 11.

Duh-duh. Duuh-duuh. Duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh.

The carp joined the geese in the park parking lot.

The splashing of carp in shallow water brought plenty of anglers, both human and avian. (Sorry, no pictures of the people or the eagle.)

The bike path on the south side of the lake was well under water, too.

View east from parking lot on June 11.

The water was even higher on June 17. Not sure if this was the peak or not.

Terry's Lake parking lot June 17.

Then, this past weekend, the hydrograph of the North Platte River on the Cheyenne NWS site showed a dip. The water dropped almost a foot at the Mitchell monitoring station. Irrigation season has arrived! According to water managers, the flood crisis has probably passed and the direst predictions avoided, thanks to cool temps and a slower-than-expected snowmelt.

While the water will be high for probably at least another month, the worst is over. Here, anyway. To the east, the troubles continue.

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

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