Saratoga weathers North Platte river's flooding

Jun 2, 2014 The Associated Press

Residents of Saratoga are breathing easier after the North Platte River did not reach record levels on Saturday as feared.

The National Weather Service says the river hovered around 10 feet, or about 1.5 feet above flood stage. It was forecast to go as high as the record of 10.5 feet.

Volunteers aided by the Wyoming National Guard and others filled and piled sandbags

But cooler temperatures helped slow the runoff from the surrounding mountains.

The river is expected to slowly recede throughout the next week back into its banks.

The river was running just above 10 feet Friday, or about 1.5 feet above flood stage, because of a surge of water from melting snow in surrounding mountains and recent rain.

"If we get the rain today down there, it'll get up and going," Fahey said. "If we don't get as much rain, we probably won't reach that 10.5."

About 25 miles downstream near Sinclair, the river is expected to come close, but not hit, the record levels.

Fahey said the situation should improve Sunday and into next week as the chances for rain drop and cooler temperatures slow the snowmelt.

The North Platte should recede out of minor flood stage sometime next week, he said.

Fahey said minor flooding was occurring or expected to occur on other rivers and streams, including the Big Goose at Sheridan, the Wind River in Fremont County and along the Shoshone River in northwest Wyoming, as the snowmelt runoff peaks.

"We should be out of the woods here this weekend," he said.

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