It’s been a crazy last couple of days. I live in Colorado and for a good portion of the summer it has been hot and dry. That was until September 9th when we received some much needed rain, and then some more rain on the 10th. Woohoo! Then more on the 11th. Wow, what an odd Fall. Then nature let loose on the 12th dumping 9.08 inches of rain and an outrageous flood ensued. Between September 9th and mid day September 13th we got a whopping 14.62 inches of rain! To put this in perspective Colorado’s average precipitation, including rain and snow melt, is 14.92 inches. So in 4 days we received just under our yearly average. To read more, and see pictures, of this 500 yr flood, check out this weather channel link.
I live just on the north side of the St. Vrain river (one of the major rivers that flooded) and my horses live 5 min south east of me on the south side of the St. Vrain river. At around 7:30am on September 12th I went to check the horses because there had been reports of high running rivers and flooding in the area. At first things seemed, for the most part, fine. The land where we pasture our horses is on a bluff 50 yards or so above the river. I could see the river was high and everything was getting really muddy but the horses were safe. They were, however, very nervous because the river below was raging. I fed them and then went to explore the area.
What I came across on the flat lands north of my pasture took my breath away.
The video was taken in the early morning and by late afternoon I was no longer able to get across this river to see or care for my animals. The north and south sides of my town were cut off from each other as flood waters moved east; taking out all roads and bridges in its path. I wasn’t able to get back to the horses until early Saturday the 14th. Below is the video taken Saturday morning of the same river, still extremely flooded but down from where it was.
Most of the roads close to the St. Vrain looked something like the picture below of Airport Road (this is the road I usually take to the pasture). This picture looks south toward the St. Vrain and the trees in the distance on the right side show where the river normally runs. The flooding was incredible! As of today, this road is still closed, but it is drying up nicely.
There are so many more pictures I could post but I think the Weather Channel link above has the best pictures where you really get a feel for the damage. Colorado has had a few floods in the past but none of them have been on this scale. I guess that’s why it’s being called a 500 year flood. But for all the damage in Longmont, our neighboring town, Lyons, was hit so much worse.
I’m so very grateful at this time. My house is high and dry, my horses are safe and happy, and my life was only slightly inconvenienced by this whole storm. Others were not so fortunate, Many lost homes and some faced life or death situations with no one to rely on except themselves. Some lost their lives and others are still trapped and waiting for helicopter rescue by the National Guard.
On Saturday when I was finally able to reach the horses I moved them back into a grass field. They were so happy to get out of the muddy pen they had spent several days standing in. I told them that they were very fortunate, but I’m not sure they believed me.
Life is a school, experience is the lesson and there are so many lessons a natural disaster can impart. Stay tuned for future posts and see how playing around and moving like a child could be the most practical (and important!) thing you’ve ever done.
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This post took me back to that flooding of the “Mighty St. Vrain river… what a wild time it was, a reminder” not to get too comfortable. We were lucky 😉