At Least 13 Dead in Colorado’s Fierce Runoff Season | Streamflow 400% Normal in Some Areas

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River Truckee rafting near Tahoe Dam California
White Water Rafting

4 people died in Colorado’s fierce rivers this weekend, bringing the total number of deaths to at least 13 in Colorado’s streams, river, and waterways during this year’s runoff season. Two more people are missing after accidents on rivers.

On Friday, a 26-year-old man who was involved in a tubing accident on the Poudre River in northern Colorado the previous day died. Debbie Reisdorff, Larimer County’s deputy coroner, identified the victim as Matthew Spates, of Fort Collins. His death has been ruled an accidental drowning, reports Summit Daily.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the body of a woman missing since falling off a jet ski Thursday at Jackson Lake State Park in Morgan County was found Saturday morning. The woman was one of four people riding a jet ski on Independence Day when it tipped over.

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Kayaking rapids. Credit:

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says a woman who was tubing on the South Platte River near Fort Morgan died after deciding to ride over a low head dam on Friday. Two other women riding with her got out of the water at the dam and saw her floating unresponsive after she re-emerged in the water. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

A California man was killed in a weekend rafting accident in northwestern Colorado. Officials with Dinosaur National Monument say 47-year-old Anthony Vasi of Newport Beach, California, died Saturday at Triplet Falls while on a commercial rafting trip with family and friends on the Green River.

“The rafter was underwater for about 10 minutes. CPR was performed for approximately 90 minutes,” a news release from the National Park Service stated. “Classic Air Medical arrived on the scene to assess the rafter, found him unresponsive and declared him deceased.”

Authorities and weather forecasters have been warning the public to use extra caution when traversing swollen waterways. Three people have died on the Arkansas River, making it the deadliest stretch of water in the state to date. Colorado’s rivers are swollen this time of year as the heavy mountain snowpack melts.

“Rivers and streams will continue to run high,” the National Weather Service said in a Western Slope bulletin released Monday.

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Current Colorado stream flows. Credit: USGS

Over the last week, streamflows in some rivers have been more than 400% of normal in some areas of the state, from the Front Range into the high country. The data comes from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which measures a river’s streamflow by cubic feet per second and compares it to the river’s historical median and mean.

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