Lyons meteorologist starts flood watch network to monitor river levels during spring run-off

LYONS, Colo. - A Lyons native and meteorologist has started a flood watch network to help monitor river levels and water patterns during the next three months of spring run-off.

Greg Berman said he started thinking about the developing a group in the weeks after September's floods. He and his wife live in Lyons and were displaced for two months after the flooding.

"My wife and I, we lived and breathed this....It’s not just us, it’s the town," Berman said. "This is for our town and all the towns that were impacted. After everything we all went through, this flood watch network I hope is going to be a way to help us all out."

So far, the group which has its own Facebook page has more than 1,200 likes. Berman said he has 35 weather spotters watching Boulder Creek, the three forks of the St. Vrain, the Little and Big Thompson Rivers.

"I wanted to be able to keep everybody updated. So by putting folks in these towns, and or near the rivers they can monitor the rivers for me, send their information back, then I can relay the information."

Berman will use information gathered from the spotters and from weather models to predict storms that will impact flooding. One of his biggest concerns is not knowing how the river will react.

"The rivers have changed. They’re deeper than they were before...There’s not much as foliage....to maybe slow the river down," Berman said. "In the past, 1200 cubic feet per second has been the cutoff when they [emergency personnel] start thinking okay we have to start thinking potential flood. Now we don’t know if it’s 1500 CFS or 700 because the river has changed."

The river topography combined with the snow pack could create for a perfect storm Berman said.

"The snow pack in many areas is 150 per cent  to 200 percent of normal," he said. "I’ve got a three month period where my eyes are going to be on the river. My eyes and my spotters eyes."

If you are interested in being a weather spotter for the network or want to follow updates, you can email weatherbe@gmail.com. You can also find his Facebook page by clicking here.

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