Estes Park flooded, Rocky Mountain National Park impacted

ESTES PARK, Colo. - The town of Estes Park has been hard hit by flooding.

Video taken in downtown Estes Park Thursday showed flood waters moving through the business district.

The video, taken along Elkhorn Avenue by the Estes Park News, was reminiscent of the 1982 flood in Estes Park after the Lawn Lake dam broke, sending a deluge into the tourist town that bills itself as the "gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park."

Just after 4 p.m., Town Administrator Frank Lancaster tweeted that water was receding on Elkhorn Avenue "only because erosion has increased (the) river channel."

Emergency notifications were sent to evacuate areas from US 34/36 intersection west along both Fall and Big Thompson Rivers to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Additionally, properties along Fish Creek were contacted to either evacuate or be on alert. Together, these notifications total 1,702 contacts.

Mountain View Bible Fellowship is the only evacuation center needed right now, so Conference Center will only be opened if needed.

Town water is shut to some areas along Fish Creek.  The sanitation district has been overwhelmed with storm water and evaluating situation. The Town of Estes Park said tape water still safe to drink, however as extra precaution, residences along the Fish Creek have are advised to boil water until further notice. No other boil orders are currently in force in Estes Park.

The Estes Park Town Board met at 12 noon to ratify a disaster declaration.

Along with cell service, many landlines may be down. The Estes Park call center is still open for when service returns: 970-577-3716

Numerous roads were closed in Estes Park, particularly those near the Big Thompson River.  The town was posting updates on its Facebook page: Town of Estes Park.

Many roads on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park were closed, due to flooding or the threat of flooding.

Old Fall River Road is closed at its junction with U.S. Highway 34 junction, inside the park.

Bear Lake Road is closed at the intersection to Moraine Park Visitor Center.  and Moraine Park Campground Road, Cub Lake/Fern Lake Road is closed at the Moraine Park Campground junction, Wild Basin Road is closed at the Sandbeach Trail and Twin Sisters Road is closed from Highway 7.

Trail Ridge Road (Highway 36) is open across the Continental Divide to Grand Lake, but visitors should be mindful of wet conditions and debris on the road, the park service said.

RMNP campgrounds were still open Thursday.  Due to existing and forecasted conditions as well as flash flood warnings on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, park managers strongly discourage visitors from traveling in the backcountry on the east side of the park. The park’s backcountry office is cancelling any overnight camping permits for Thursday night  on the east side of the park.

To receive more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at 970-586-1206.

The Town of Drake, downstream from Estes Park also had heavy road damage from flooding. This video was taken Thursday by Matt Charboneau as water roared down Highway 34, taking out part of the highway.

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