Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flood of 2013


What a week it has been for Northern Colorado...

By the numbers:
- Flood conditions across 17 counties
- 8 deaths (including 2 presumed)
- 11,750 people evacuated (OEM estimate)
- 17,994 homes damaged (OEM estimate)
- 1,502 homes destroyed (OEM estimate)
- 1,120 Sq. Mi. affected in Larimer Co.
- 875 Sq. Mi. affected in Boulder Co.
- 385 Sq. Mi. affected in Jefferson Co.
- Over 50 bridges destroyed or seriously damaged

The town I live in escaped relatively unscathed, (and yes, I'm perfectly fine, I live up on a ridge and if the water levels ever got high enough to flood my house... well, in the words of my Business Management professor "I'd either be looking for an Ark or the Four Horses of the Apocalypse because it would be the end of the world.") However they did shut down all the bridges across the river late Thursday evening as the water reached peak levels. Half the bridges are still closed as of today due to concerns about structural integrity. Flood stage is 10', it hit 14.5'

This river, along with the Big Thompson and Boulder Creek run into the South Platte which follows I-76 out towards Nebraska/Kansas.  As of today it is still in Major Flood stage, it crested at 18' in a location just below where all the rivers merge.... THAT'S A LOT OF WATER!!

Looking across my state I am just floored by the level of damage... Highway 34 headed up from Loveland to Estes Park (a major tourist spot at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park), is... well, gone.  There is no more road.  Watch the first ten minutes of this video and you'll see what I mean.

I have also been completely awed and impressed by the actions and work put in by our first responders.  Larimer county Sheriff Justin Smith has been working relentlessly around the clock since this thing started and I couldn't be prouder to say that I live in his county.  The National Guard is here flying (I believe) 20 military helicopters in and out rescuing people and pets.  And when the weather was too inclement to allow helicopter flight, search and rescue personnel hiked and created ATV trails to get to stranded citizens. Several mountain towns are simply either no more (such as Lyons), or all roads have been washed out and the only way is to hike or be air lifted.  This is the largest amount of people to be air evacuated since Hurricane Katrina.

It is going to take years to recover and rebuild from this 500 year flood.  But I know my community is strong.  We will rebuild.


Glad you are safe! The forces of nature are amazing.

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