September 13, 2013

"In Boulder, the rainfall record for September set in 1940 was shattered..."

"... unleashing surging floodwaters in Boulder Canyon above the city that triggered the evacuation of some 4,000 residents late on Thursday."
"There's so much water coming out of the canyon, it has to go somewhere, and unfortunately it's coming into the city," said Ashlee Herring, spokeswoman for the Boulder office of Emergency Management.

Boulder Creek, which runs through the heart of the city, became a raging torrent that burst its banks and flooded adjacent parking lots and streets as warning sirens wailed.

12 comments:

surfed said...

Water is a giver of life and a destroyer of lives...

Bruce Hayden said...

The famed People's Republic of Boulder facing the reality of Mother Nature gone rogue. Just too bad that this precipitation didn't happen a month or two later, when it might have laid down a good base in the mountains.

There is good and bad living in and around the Colorado front range. The good is that much of the year can be spent outdoors under bright blue skies with beautiful scenery all around you. The bad is that when Mother Nature decides to act up, it is often a bit extreme. And, the Front Range concentrates a lot of the weather, making it ultimately quite a bit more devastating.

One example of this concentration is wind. 70 mph winds in Boulder, or really MT Vernon Canyon (I-70) coming down into Denver, are not that remarkable. Worked some 40 years ago in a brick yard in E. Boulder, and was initially surprised that all the west walls of the buildings were additionally supported by metal cables. Probably not for the 70 mph winds though, more like the 100+ mph winds. And, I always thought that that may have been partly why NCAR was in Boulder.

Don't remember Boulder Creek flooding like this, but every couple of years, it seems, some canyon coming onto the plains or another floods. Remember vividly when the Big Thompson between Estes Park and Loveland flooded on summer. We were just north of there in Fort Collins at the time. And, then was reminded of it a couple of years ago, when the head of the camp that my kid was going to told of racing the flood with a bus load of campers. They were pulling people out by chopper for a day or two, and, a lot of cabins dating from the 1920s or so were wiped out.

I expect that I will be hearing for some time about what happened yesterday to all the people I know in Boulder. Know that it was traumatic for them. Hoping that all are well.

madAsHell said...

The talking heads on TV are all a twitter. The have pictures of water running through the town.

How do they make every broadcast sound like the Hindenburg disaster?

MadisonMan said...

The Satellite Perspective.

prairie wind said...

A purple state. Will Obama notice this disaster or not?

LYNNDH said...

We live north of Boulder, just above Longmont, CO. The rivers here are knocking out bridges over HY 287 and side roads. I-25 closed. At my house I would say we had over 5 in of rain since Mon evening, and more to come. My subdivision is without water, and maybe sewer. Longmont is divide by St. Vrain river. It is a real mess.

Sam L. said...

AlGorebull Worming has odd side-effects.

CyndiF said...

We just moved away from Longmont three months ago. Our house was 1/3 mi. from the St. Vrain. Fortunately for the new owners, that distance was all uphill. The images are stunning.

Bruce Hayden said...

How do they make every broadcast sound like the Hindenburg disaster?

That is their job. If it bleeds, it leads.

Though, this is the worst flooding in CO in quite a while. They talk about the Big Thompson from that late 1970s or so, but that was one river, caused somewhat by a dam in RM Nat Park blowing out. CO just doesn't get that much rain at one time, over a couple of days. This is the sort of thing that people in the mid-east (i.e. east of Kansas) and the east see. Very little of it sinks in, and so most of it runs off, and then is channeled by those canyons as it hits the Front Range and just east of there in Boulder, Longmont, etc. In places, this is made worse by recent forest fires that have denuded slopes and burned off a lot of the stuff that would otherwise soak up the moisture.

I do remember one big one from the 1960s, where chunks of Denver were underwater. Was working at a commercial silk screening company by Cherry Creek, and we spent a week getting the mud out of the plant.

LYNNDH indicates how bad it can be in places there (hope things are going well there). And Longmont is a bit back from the mountains. When I was working at the brick factory in Boulder, used to drive up there (on the "Diagonal") a couple times a month to work at the original plant there to keep it officially open (useful when people built to the edge of the pit, and then wanted to close it - it was grandfathered, having been started in the latter 1800s). Driven US 287 many times over the years - it used to be the main route between Denver north, until I-25 was constructed.

The whole Front Range seems to be experiencing this - just talked to someone with a son and daughter-in-law in C. Springs who was concerned. Saw pictures of Fort Collins, and drove through some of the intersections that I saw on video underwater for years.



Julie Adams said...

The flooding is more dramatic in Boulder, but it has washed out roads, knocked down bridges, and filled basements from Ft. Collins all the way down to Colorado Springs. Additionally, neighborhoods in towns east of Denver have been evacuated due to failing dams. We just received what is usually a third of our annual rainfall in a matter of days.

Oso Negro said...

Funny, I always thought Boulder would be destroyed by fire.

Hunter said...

"Funny, I always thought Boulder would be destroyed by fire"

Well that could still happen. 2011 and 2012 both saw fires in the mountains west of Boulder which had a serious chance of raging into the city.

The 2012 fire came all the way to the crest of Beak Peak. With unfavorable winds, this fire could have spread down into South Boulder in a matter of minutes. Kind of like what DID happen in Colorado Springs that very same day, when the Waldo Canyon fire suddenly exploded and consumed 350 homes.