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Runoff dangers noted by weather service

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for parts of eastern Utah.

Forecasters say the weekend's warm temperatures have caused rapid snow melt on mountains in western Colorado and eastern Utah, leading to steady rising river levels.

Flooding could occur along Utah's Green River near Jensen, east of Vernal, and along smaller creeks and streams that flow into the Green River.

On Sunday morning, the weather service said the Green River was at 6.3 feet. Flood stage is reached at 10.8 feet. Forecasters predict the river could reach flood stage by this Friday.

Hydrologists say peak runoff is expected over the next two weeks with temperatures warming and possible rain in the forecast too.

Randy Julander says Utah streams will be running fast, high and cold. He is the snow survey supervisor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The National Weather Service also warned that dangerous streams bring the risk of drowning.

Peak runoff was long over by this time last year. An impressive snow count and cool temperatures have stored the mountain snowpack longer this year. But now it's ready to release.

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