tropical storm Colorado

Friday 13, 2013. There is something about this local act of nature that feels familiar. Something about the light continuous rain, the relatively mild temperatures, and the high gray sky reminds me of the NC ocean. As it turns out, Colorado is experiencing its first tropical storm-like weather.

tropical storm 1

“The upper-level low responsible for this week’s Colorado flood drove a southeasterly flow of extremely moist tropical air from Mexico that pushed up against the mountains and was lifted over a stationary front draped over the mountains. As the air flowed uphill and over the front, it expanded and cooled, forcing the moisture in it to fall as rain. “

Since I moved to Colorado,  we’ve had 3 deadly floods in Northern Colorado. In 1976, a dam overflowed in Estes Park and a monster flood careened down Big Thompson Canyon, killing almost two hundred residents, campers, and one heroic state trooper. Bodies spilled out into Loveland, CO for days. Locals still talk about it.

In 1997, in Ft. Collins, a flash flood gushed over a retaining wall near the Colorado State University campus, destroying a small neighborhood and killing nine people. As one survivor said, “One moment I was watching Next Gen, and the next moment I was up to my neck in water.” Beam me up, Scottie.

Wednesday, along the Front Range, the rain began and it hasn’t stopped yet. From it’s deceptively slow beginning, the storm filled our canyons with dangerous rising water moving at white water speed. Boulder and Longmont, Lyons and Jamestown took the brunt of the storm.  Fortunately, there has been time to evacuate or warn residents. Even so, three people lost their lives. Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed, roads are closed, and schools and businesses are taking an enforced day off. Our main highway, I25, is closed from the southern  border of Wyoming to Erie, CO. And, as the water flows, there is more to come.

Loveland suffered some flooding, but nothing like 1976.

There you have it. It’s official. Mother Nature is still in charge.

When was the last time Mother Nature took charge of your life?

(BTW, if this was January, three days of similar rain patterns could result in 8 feet of snow.)

Colorado sign collage from Matt Carberry / facebook

6 thoughts on “tropical storm Colorado”

  1. It always amazes how easily our fragile daily life is disrupted by extraordinary weather.

    This spring we had record rains too. Our streets were flooded to the point where we couldn’t leave our neighborhood, and our sewers so full that we couldn’t use them. We were so grateful when the rain finally stopped!
    We kid ourselves if we think we’re not at Mother Nature’s mercy. I hope your rain subsides soon!

    1. Mother’s hitting us with the rain stick again, as I type. We’re hoping she’ll be done with us by this time tomorrow. Meanwhile, our valiant Colorado National Guard and Army personnel are rescuing survivors by flying cavalry: Blackhawks, Hueys, and Chinook helicopters. These amazing metal birds whirled over our house all day!

  2. When I lived near Picayune, Ms we had a saying, “God willing and the creek don’t rise” which was very true. To get anywhere from where I lived there were several places the creek would cover the road, sometimes for days. We had to go 10 or more miles out of the way to get to town sometimes, depending on which creek was covering the road.

    1. Hey sis. We feel that way now. There’s no way of knowing if I25 is open yet. We’ll need that north to south highway to get to work tomorrow. I have no idea if Aims will even be open since it’s in Greeley, a town to the east that is getting pounded with runoff from the canyons. And, it’s raining again. Probably all day and night. No rescue birds flying today that we can hear. Liz, I’m so glad we got to Boulder, Flagstaff, and Rocky Mt. National Park when we did. This is sooooo sad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: