13 September 2013

Colorado Flooding Continues

The rain continues to fall

The rain continued overnight. More is expected throughout the day with scattered showers into the weekend.  

The National Guard has arrived to rescue/evacuate citizens in Lyons, Colorado (population 2,000) who were trapped by flood waters. Last night residents of Jamestown and Eldorado Springs were ordered to evacuate, as were areas of Commerce City were a dam was expected to break. National Guard begins evacuating town cut off by Colorado flooding, By CNN.

Most areas schools are closed. The University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University in Fort Collins have closed. Rocky Mountain National Park is closed and visitors are being asked to leave the park.

Citizens of Colorado have been wonderful about staying off of the highways to allow emergency vehicles to get through. A long stretch of I-25 from Erie to the Wyoming border was completely closed this morning. This is unprecedented. Also a section of I-70 due to a rock slide and many other local roads. Highway 83 is closed. Trail Ridge Rd is closed except for official or emergency vehicles.

Four deaths have been confirmed, another 80 persons have been reported as missing by relatives. Clearly vehicles, bridges, structures along the rivers, and areas where water has backed up are unsafe. It takes only 12" of flowing water to move a car.

The Chicago Tribune stated, "The National Weather Service said at least 12.3 inches of rain have fallen on Boulder this month, smashing a 73-year-old record of 5.5 inches for September." The newspaper also reported, "President Barack Obama approved a federal disaster assistance request, which will release funds to help with emergency protection."

'It's got to be the largest storm that I can imagine in the state's history' said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. A record level of rain was recorded at 14.5 inches of rain which fell in Eldorado Creek near Boulder. The 7News weatherman reported that the amount of rainfall was equivalent to 14-16 feet of snow falling within days, or the amount of expected total rain for 1-year falling in 4 days. 

Flooding in Colorado has expanded overnight. With Flash Flood Alerts changing to Flash Flood Watch. Rain continues throughout the day today. Colorado Governor Hickenlooper stated in a speech this morning that flood waters in Colorado now cover over 200 miles (322km) in length (150 square miles) along the front range.

09/14/13: 4 deaths have been confirmed, 218 persons are unaccounted for.
09/20/10: 10 deaths have been confirmed, 140 still unaccounted for (reduced from 1200). 1800 homes destroyed. Estimated property loss of over $2 billion statewide. Some communities will remain cut-off, due to washed out roads, for months.

Flood waters now affect a much larger area in Colorado. (*flood areas continue to change)
MORE RAIN TODAY Map from National Weather Service
Flash Flooding possible.  Map from NOAA
The states of Wyoming and New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Idaho and Nevada are also affected.
Floods affecting the western United States  http://www.weather.gov/
Update Friday afternoon: 
Rain has stopped temporarily - Flash Flood risk lessens to watch, water remains high and flowing. Flood Watch 4pm Friday to 7am Saturday. More rain expected Saturday afternoon into Sunday as another cold front from the north holds the monsoon rains coming from the southwest against the front range mountains. 
Flood Watch area as of Friday afternoon.
The rain began falling last Monday

National Weather Service explanation of cause of the floods - monsoon moisture from the south met a cold front from the north.
Weather patterns collide in tragedy
History of Floods in Colorado:
Fort Collins flash flood 1997
Big Thompson flood of 1976
Bear Creek Canyon flood 1933
Pueblo flood 1904
Bear Creek Canyon flood of 1933. Photo from The Denver Post Archive

The storm of the century is not the time you would have wanted to pick to climb Longs Peaks, I hope they will be safe: Two climbers awaiting rescue on Long's Peak. "We need help. At top of longs peak. 13400 feet. Whitehout snow storm." "No injuries. Iced over risk of hypothermia. On South ridge." Update: Around 1 p.m. 9NEWS learned the girls made it down safely.

Videos: some amazing videos of the flood at http://stormchasingvideo.com/ or their YouTube channel.

More dramatic photos of the floods were shared from citizens on Thursday evening and Friday morning, September 13, 2013, as the rain storm continues. Here are just some of the many photos shared at local 9News.com (added 09/13/13). As I mentioned yesterday the rain has flooded city after city throughout the state.

Water rising
Pinewood Springs flooding near the St Vrain cuts off residents
What the St Vrain River itself actually looks like
Rockslide in Golden Gate Canyon outside of Golden, CO
Flooding at Anschutz Medical Campus, Childrens Hospital, CU School of Medicine, Fitzsimons in Aurora
Flooding of the Big Thompson River destroys the road near Drake, Colorado
You have to wonder about the strength of every bridge and overpass
Surrounded by water
Emergency services
Closure of northbound and southbound I-25 from flooding
St Vrain River in Longmont floods
Bear Creek in Evergreen floods
Waters continue to rise in Longmont
A park in Aurora, east of Denver. This is not just a flood of water from mountain streams
Confluence Park next to REI in Lo-Do Denver
Shops along downtown Estes Park
Mudslide in Jamestown where residents have been evacuated
Family stands near Fish Creek Rd outside of Estes Park
Extensive Longmont flooding
Roads washed away
Even the animals are confused
A beaver without his dam
Horses stand in the deep waters in a field in Hygeine, CO
More horses in Hygeine
Boulder neighbors helping neighbors
Evacuation notice posted - ALL SAFE
rain rain rain
Read more and see more photos from the 2013 Colorado storm : Colorado Flooding a Pedal Dancer® post from yesterday.

Once the skies cleared and the clouds lifted, the helicopters took flight and provided footage of the massive amounts of land and cities affected. It is jaw dropping. I am safe and sound, but really feel for those people separated from home or family. And the thousands without water, power, business, or safety.