Lyons residents fear another flood as critical river gauges still not replaced

Only 7 months following last September's floods, Lyons residents fear it could happen again. 

Now, 7NEWS has discovered some of the river gauges damaged in the floods have not been replaced.

Jay Hodge moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania last January and saw the river transform first hand. The St. Vrain River washed away Hodge's home and business during the September floods.

Nearly 10 inches of rain fell on Lyons alone last September. The resulting flood forced the evacuation of the entire town.

Now, Lyons is preparing for spring runoff, and potential new storms. Flow in the St. Vrain River is already more than twice the average rate and with heavy snowpack yet to melt upstream, residents are concerned.

A stream gauge 7NEWS found on the south end of Lyons is the only gauge operating in the area right now. It only works intermittently. The state plans to install two more gauges, but the Lyons Fire Department is taking action now.

Firefighters are installing stream height sticks throughout the river, marking high level points on some of the bridges. The fire department is even working on plans with the city to install their own electronic float meters to warn of rising waters.

The National Weather Service is also keeping a close watch on the St. Vrain.  Forecasters are confident they have the data necessary to forecast and issue flood warnings even with missing gauges.

"We're not gonna wait for that river to rise up and cause any issues. We want to get that flash flood warning out as soon as possible" says National Weather Service Hydrologist, Treste Huse.

Still, residents in Lyons fear the rising waters and wait for those warnings.

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