With the snowmelt season approaching, the Town of Vail is issuing its annual reminder to area property owners to review their current insurance policies and consider adding flood insurance to the coverage. As of April 11, Vail snowpack levels were at 95 percent of normal. Gore Creek is flowing about normal for this time of year. Spring runoff typically peaks between late-May and mid-June in Vail. While the current snowpack is typical, emergency managers caution that flood conditions can occur with sustained warm temperatures. A minimum 30-day waiting period may be required before a new flood policy comes into effect.
Floodplain maps are available on the Town of Vail website. The maps indicate the approximate floodplain locations in Vail, and can be used as a reference for homeowners to determine whether their property is located near a floodplain area. Insurance rates are based on official Flood Insurance Rate Maps created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Copies of these maps are available for review at the Town of Vail Public Works Department, 1309 Elkhorn Drive or may be ordered by calling 1-877-FEMA-MAP (336-2627) or available at msc.fema.gov. The Town of Vail is a member of the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP), which allows every property owner in Vail the option to purchase flood insurance, regardless of the property’s location.
Area streams most prone to flooding include: Black Gore Creek near The Heather and Gore Creek at the intersection of Bridge Road and Lupine Drive in East Vail; Mill Creek near Mill Creek Drive in Vail Village; Red Sandstone Creek near the Brooktree Condominiums; and Buffehr Creek from Circle Drive to the North Frontage Road in West Vail. As the weather warms, Public Works crews will begin daily water level checks at approximately 90 locations throughout the town, including culverts, catch basins and bridges. Nightly checks are added to the rounds once the peak run-off season hits.
Also, the town will provide free sand material and empty bags for residents and businesses who wish to safeguard their property from the possibility of high water. The material will be available at three locations beginning May 16: the parking lot near the I-70 interchange in East Vail, the Charter Bus lot adjacent to the Lionshead parking structure and the North Trail parking lot in West Vail. An interactive map showing historic flood prone areas, high-water checkpoints, sand distribution sites, streamflow monitoring stations and FEMA floodplain information is available here.
Homeowners interested in adding flood coverage to their insurance policies are encouraged to call their insurance agents to check availability. In addition, NFIP offers information on floods and flood insurance, including local agents who provide the coverage, online at floodsmart.gov. Residents are also reminded of the importance of being prepared for any emergency by assembling a kit containing a three-day food and water supply, as well as medications, toiletries, pet supplies, flashlight, radio and extra batteries. Visit ready.gov for more recommendations on personal emergency preparedness.
For more information on Vail’s flood maps, contact Tom Kassmel, Town of Vail Floodplain Administrator, at 970-479-2235. For county wide information, contact Barry Smith with Eagle County Emergency Management, at 970-328-3545.