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Flooding in La Veta: prep work and impacts this year

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 24, 2019

LA VETA — It's monsoon season in southern Colorado and for places like La Veta there's the potential for major flooding.

Residents shared with News 5 that after last year's devastating Spring Fire they were expecting the worst when it came to flooding. The good news though, things haven't been too bad so far. However, with all the recent rainfall flash flooding is something the town is constantly on the watch for.

Water in places like Middle Creek is high and wide this time of year.

"As long as it doesn't get any higher we're safe, but this is kind of unruly watching the water come down off the hill knowing that it could get worse," said Eddie Smith. He lives near the creek which had some minor flooding earlier this week.

Resident Julie Valdez said, "It was kind of scary. You could hear it. I could hear it. It sounded like it was running down this front street."

La Veta Town Marshal Harold Willburn said, "Monday night was a lot of water. We were still about a foot from the top of the bridge on 450."

There hasn't been any damage or evacuations, but the water did go over the bank and into nearby fields.

Willburn said, "There's a lot of tributaries that are draining water from the burn scar into the La Veta area so that's made our flood danger go up a lot."

Thankfully, things have stayed fairly calm so far.

"There's been a lot of mitigation done on a lot of those creeks so we don't have a lot of debris flow, so it's been flowing through the channels fairly well."

Even so, he said, "This has been a learning experience this year so far too with the different rain amounts that we have and I think it's going to continue to be that way for the next several years."

Other prep work in La Veta has included putting sandbags around homes and businesses, setting up a buddy system, and having an alert system with sirens and code red messages sent to people's phones when there's a flash flood warning.