Surge flow at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve expected in coming weeks

Posted at 7:45 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 12:02:32-04
Sand Dunes Surge flow
(National Park Service)

ALAMOSA – Colorado’s epic and lengthy winter is causing some changes to a one-of-a-kind Colorado phenomenon.

Surge flow at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is forecast to be at 160% of normal depth, and the peak flow still hasn’t happened yet on Medano Creek.

The park said colder temperatures prevented the peak flow from happening at its normal time in late May. Instead, surge flow is expected to happen “sometime in the first half of June.”

Surge flow is a very rare phenomenon in which water flows in bursts, which cause waves on the sand. In a wet year, the waves can reach one foot high. According to the National Park Service, the waves happen about every 20 seconds on Medano Creek.

The flow is so rare because few environments have the elements needed to produce the waves. Medano Creek has a steep gradient, enough water and a sandy creekbed.

As of June 3, the creek’s flow is beginning to rise. CLICK HERE to view current conditions for Medano Creek.