Procedures and general responsibilities for the operational elements of this flood warning plan are contained in this section. Three points regarding these procedures need to be emphasized:

  • The operating procedure for each organization addresses only those actions and activities that organization must accomplish in order to effect a coordinated response to a flood situation on Ralston Creek and its tributaries.
  • Every individual responsible for the implementation of any part of this warning plan should be familiar with the entire plan.
  • This section does not contain detailed operating procedures but provides an overview of technical support activities, communications, emergency operations and general responsibilities of each participating organization. Specific task assignments and responsibilities are described in local emergency operation plans and other supplemental documents maintained by local governments. Similarly, the technical support organizations (NWS, HMS and UDFCD) routinely update their own internal operating procedures, policies and duty manuals.

National Weather Service and Henz Meteorological Services

The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office at Denver has the responsibility for issuing Flash Flood Watches, Flash Flood Warnings, general Flood Warnings, and many other types of weather warnings, advisories and forecasts for northeastern Colorado, including Jefferson County, in which the Bear Creek drainage basin is located. Henz Meteorological Services (HMS) has been retained by the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD) to supplement NWS flood-related activities within UDFCD boundaries, which includes the Ralston Creek drainage basin. HMS is responsible for monitoring weather and flood conditions, forecasting flood potentials, issuing standardized internal messages, and directly advising local officials concerning specific flood threats. UDFCD provides HMS with access to weather radar, satellite data and ALERT base stations which collect real-time rain and stream level data from the Ralston Creek Flood Detection Network and other detection networks operating in or near the Denver/Boulder metropolitan area. HMS acquires additional meteorological data, performs their own analyses and prepares forecasts tailored to local government needs. Coordination between NWS and HMS will be as follows:

  1. Coordination between NWS and HMS will be initiated by either party when it is deemed that the potential for flash flood producing storms exists. A private line has been established for this purpose. NWS and HMS will consult on when to issue a MESSAGE 1 (see Section VI for MESSAGE descriptions) to Jefferson County Communications (JCC). MESSAGE 1 will be communicated by phone and fax.
  2. If HMS feels that a MESSAGE 1 requires priority handling by emergency communications personnel, the message will be preceded by the statement: "THIS IS A RED FLAG MESSAGE." If the RED FLAG pertains to Ralston Creek, HMS will also contact the Arvada Police Department in addition to JCC (see Section V for communication details).
  3. Coordination between NWS and HMS will continue at two-hour intervals or less as needed until the potential passes or a more serious situation develops. NWS may issue a Special Weather Statement or Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory through normal channels if conditions warrant (see Section IV for discussion of NWS products).
  4. If the situation is up-graded to a Flash Flood Watch by NWS, they will notify HMS and put the watch out on NOAA Weather Wire, NOAA Weather Radio, and NAWAS. After being contacted by NWS, HMS will immediately issue a MESSAGE 2 to JCC.
  5. If HMS feels the flood potential has increased but NWS does not want to issue a Flash Flood Watch, HMS can either issue a MESSAGE UPDATE to JCC indicating an increase in flood potential or upgrade the message status to a MESSAGE 2 if they feel a life-threatening flood potential exists.
  6. Following receipt of a MESSAGE 2 or MESSAGE UPDATE, JCC should pass along any rainfall or other data available to them and inform HMS and NWS of such observations.
  7. Communications between NWS, HMS, JCC and Arvada will continue as needed. Should either the Jefferson County or Arvada EOC be activated, the responsible local government agency can request that HMS communications be redirected to the respective EOC.
  8. If the situation is up-graded to a Flash Flood Warning by NWS, they will notify HMS and put the warning out on NOAA Weather Wire, NOAA Weather Radio, NAWAS and METS. After being contacted by NWS, HMS will immediately issue a MESSAGE 3 to JCC and Lakewood. HMS can also issue a MESSAGE 3 without a NWS Flash Flood Warning if HMS believes a life-threatening flood is imminent.
  9. HMS can issue a MESSAGE UPDATE to JCC at any time an update of the current message in effect is warranted but the next higher or lower message is not appropriate. If a MESSAGE UPDATE-RED FLAG is issued, HMS will also notify Arvada Police directly.
  10. Local government officials may recognize the equivalent of a Flash Flood Watch, independent of NWS or HMS, if they feel the situation warrants. NWS and HMS should be immediately advised of this circumstance.
  11. Local government officials may decide on their own to evacuate the floodplain, close roads or take some other appropriate emergency action. NWS and HMS will be informed of the situation immediately. NWS will disseminate this information over their communications network wherever possible.
  12. Consultations between NWS, HMS, JCC, Arvada and other flood warning plan participants should continue as needed until the potential has passed or a flood is occurring.
  13. When NWS and HMS agree that the potential has passed, HMS should issue a MESSAGE 4 to JCC and any active EOC.

HMS will have forecaster(s) on duty from 7 AM until 10 PM each day. At 10 PM, a final call will be made between NWS and HMS to establish whether a flash flood potential has developed. If a potential exists at that time, HMS will remain staffed until the potential has ended. If weather conditions change after 10 PM and a potential flood situation develops, NWS will notify the HMS duty person. This individual will respond to the HMS office and begin the coordination process described above.

Jefferson County

Sheriff's Department

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Communications Center (JCC) has the responsibility and authority to maintain an orderly flow of information between all agencies involved in the warning plan. Specific responsibilities of JCC are as follows:

  1. During normal conditions JCC will be in its normal working configuration.
  2. Upon receipt of MESSAGE 1 (See Section VI of this plan for a discussion of HMS Messages), duty dispatchers will immediately report to the Director of Emergency Management and notify local jurisdictions of the alert.
  3. Upon receipt of MESSAGE 2 (NWS Flash Flood Watch or HMS equivalent), or information indicating an increased flood potential (e.g. MESSAGE 1/RED FLAG or MESSAGE UPDATE/RED FLAG), entire area affected will be notified immediately by duty dispatcher. This will include the City of Arvada, Arvada Fire Protection District and Fairmount Fire Protection District. The Jefferson County Department of Highways and Transportation, Highway Design and Development Review Section will also be notified immediately of this situation. Watch commander should consider dispatching personnel to the Arvada EOC, if activated.
  4. Patrol cars, as deemed necessary, will be dispatched to potential flood areas to report on the levels of Ralston, Leyden and Van Bibber Creeks, warn individuals in the flood hazard areas and assist fire districts concerned where feasible.
  5. Upon receipt of MESSAGE 3 (NWS Flash Flood Warning or HMS equivalent) or information from other reliable sources to that effect, the Sheriff's Department will take immediate steps to secure designated and/or unincorporated areas involved, establish traffic control, assist with evacuation, preserve law and order, activate Field Command Post if required, carry out search and rescue operations as necessary and activate warning sirens upon approval.
  6. If flooding occurs in an incorporated area, Sheriff's Department resources will stand by to assist municipal emergency response agencies within Jefferson County as needed.
  7. Information received from fire district weather spotters will be consolidated and forwarded to HMS, NWS and the operational EOCs.
  8. The Sheriff's Department will establish a Field Command Post in the disaster area, if required, upon receipt of information that an evacuation due to floods has been initiated. Until such time that a Jefferson County command post is established, the fire district involved will be in control of its jurisdictional area. Once established, the overall control of the flood area will revert to the Jefferson County Field Command Post.
  9. Aircraft control and aviation support will be coordinated.
  10. Pertinent fire districts and the City of Arvada, will be provided with rain and stream stage information and HMS forecasts on a timely basis when potential flooding conditions exist.

Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management

  1. Upon receipt of MESSAGE 2 (NWS Flash Flood Watch or HMS equivalent) or information to that effect from Sheriff's Department, notify the County Manager or Board of County Commissioners, Human Services Division, Land Planning and Infrastructure Division, Health Department; and activate the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) if appropriate.
  2. Determine resources needed for disaster area and coordinate emergency response activities with county departments.
  3. Establish communications with Field Command Post and Colorado Office of Emergency Management.
  4. If appropriate, notify R1 School District of designated schools required for temporary housing of flood evacuees and coordinate opening as evacuation centers.
  5. Establish communications within the Arvada Emergency Operations Center (EOC), if activated.

Jefferson County Division of Land Planning and Infrastructure

  1. Upon notification of flooding conditions, be prepared to provide crews and equipment to assist in rescue operations, provide necessary transportation, establish barricades as needed and restore county facilities in the quickest possible manner.
  2. Upon activation of the Jefferson County EOC, provide a representative thereto.

Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment

  1. Upon notification of flooding conditions, provide representatives(s) on site to determine requirements for preservation of county health standards.
  2. Upon activation of the Jefferson County EOC, provide a representative thereto.

Jefferson County Division of Human Services

  1. Upon notification of flooding conditions, activate resources and emergency support agencies to house, clothe and feed flood evacuees at designated evacuation centers.
  2. Upon activation of the Jefferson County EOC, provide a representative thereto.

Jefferson County R1 School District

  1. Upon notification of potential flood conditions, be prepared to open designated schools for use as evacuation centers when required.

Arvada and Fairmount Fire Protection Districts

  1. Provide information to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Jeffco EOC, Arvada Police and/or the Arvada EOC concerning all potential and actual flood conditions in jurisdictional areas on a timely basis.
  2. Upon receipt of MESSAGE 1 (Internal Weather Alert), notify required personnel for potential action.
  3. Upon receipt of MESSAGE 2 (NWS Flash Flood Watch or HMS equivalent) or other warning indicators (e.g. MESSAGE 1/RED FLAG or MESSAGE UPDATE/RED FLAG), alert all personnel for flood observation and warning requirements within jurisdictional area. Warnings should be issued to endangered individuals and residences should a flash appear imminent. Consider dispatching personnel to the operational EOCs at Jefferson County and Arvada.
  4. Upon receipt of MESSAGE 3 (NWS Flash Flood Warning or HMS equivalent) or warning from the Sheriff's Department, be prepared to evacuate threatened area by the quickest possible means. NOTE: Fire District Chiefs will use own discretion when to initiate appropriate observations, warning or evacuation at any time conditions so warrant action.
  5. Consolidate weather spotter information received and transmit to Sheriff's Department and the operational EOCs on a timely basis.
  6. Provide initial search and rescue operations as required.
  7. Notify Sheriff's Department immediately upon flood evacuation initiation.

Individual Weather Spotters

  1. Provide fire districts with rainfall and stream level information on a timely basis during a major rain storm or when flooding conditions exist.
  2. If not under supervision of a fire district, provide such information directly to the Sheriff's Department, the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management, Arvada Police, Arvada EOC or the National Weather Service.

General Administration and Logistics

  1. All emergency response agencies will utilize their own resources until exhausted.
  2. Requests for needed additional supplies, equipment and other resources will be made to Jefferson County Emergency Management.
  3. Jefferson County Emergency Management will coordinate the acquisitions of all resources necessary to the existing emergency.

City of Arvada

 A web version of this portion of the plan is not currently available.