CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wind River reached a record high level at Riverton on Thursday as rivers and streams in western and central Wyoming swelled from melting mountain snow, officials said, noting that the water would keep rising through the weekend.

The Wind River exceeded 11.9 feet (3.63 meters), breaking the previous record level of 11.8 feet (3.6 meters) set in July 2011, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, flood warnings have been posted for the rivers in Fremont, Big Horn, Park, Sublette and Lincoln counties.

Fremont County is the most threatened area because of the number of rivers that flow through its towns and along its roads and highways.

Along with the Wind River, the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie, Little Wind, Little Popo Agie and Popo Agie rivers were all flowing high with runoff from surrounding mountains.

“We do have plenty of water,” said Kathi Metzler, Fremont County emergency management coordinator.

So far, the high water has caused some nuisance flooding in yards and closed some roads, but there have been no reports of homes being damaged by water, Metzler said.

A 10-mile stretch of U.S. 26 west of Riverton was closed because of water on the roadway. Motorists were being rerouted to a detour that adds about 30 minutes to their trip.

The state Office of Homeland Security has sent 16 people to Fremont County to fill sandbags for use by residents.

Metzler said residents and the county have been preparing since February for a high runoff because of the heavy mountain snowpack that built up during the winter. Sandbags and flood barriers have been placed at strategic points along rivers to protect homes and public facilities.

“At this stage we’re about as good as we’re going to make it,” she said.

Elsewhere, low-land flooding along the Green River in southwest Wyoming has washed out several back country roads on federal land, and officials were discouraging people from recreation along the river.

Park County officials reported a washed out road along the swollen Greybull River about 15 miles northeast of Meeteetse.

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BOB MOEN
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