Laramie Business Prepares for Flooding
While Albany County awaits the melting of mountain snow, at least one business in Laramie isn't taking any chances. C & A Pet and Livestock Supply, located next to the Laramie River near Optimist Park, has their plan in place, should the river crest even higher than it did last year.
Allan Reed (the 'A' in 'C & A') says last year was the highest he's seen the water near his business in 27 years. Last year the Laramie River System flooded after the Snowy Range snowpack was measured on May 1st at 83 percent above average, this year on May 1st the snowpack was already at 180 percent above average.
The first year C & A was threatened by flood waters was in 1986, so they put in a berm, which has been reinforced over the years as needed. Allan said the city already stopped by to be sure the dike will be reinforced before the spring runoff hits the Laramie River System in full force.
In addition to reinforcing the dike, C & A is putting all of the supplies in their back sheds on pallets to raise them about 18 inches. If his business is threatened, all of the U-Hauls will be moved to other locations and Allan has had many customers volunteer use of flatbeds to clear out the business if it comes to it.
"It could get real interesting," said Allan as he gazed at the river from just outside C & A. "But we'll just have to see what happens."
The Laramie River traditionally peaks in the first or second week of June according to Chuck Murrieta, Emergency Management Grants Coordinator. The last four years the peak has occured between June 8th and 14th. The high level of snow in the mountains has kept WYDOT from being able to open WYO 130 for Memorial Day weekend for the first time in at least four decades. Fear of what could happen when all that snow melts has prompted Albany Count and the City of Laramie to prepare also.
Laramie Fire Department Chief and Albany County Emergency Manager Dan Johnson says the county has already been issued the maximum 50,000 sandbags it can get. There must be a disaster declaration before they can get more, which means all of the county's resources have been exhausted.
On the City of Laramie website there is a page dedicated to the 2011 Spring Runoff which provides flood safety information. There is also an Information Hotline which provides instant flood updates at 307-721-5300.