The Boulder Colorado flood September 2013 – A year later
As I remember where I was a year ago today, I’m compelled to drag out the pictures I took and reread the posts I wrote. Nothing evokes the memories and emotions, and makes me more grateful for this morning’s sunshine, quite like hearing my own words, written as the rain fell and so began the Boulder Colorado flood September 2013. Over the next few days I will re-post all my flood pictures for that time. For me it is a good reminder that my neighbors are awesome… I am lucky to live in such a fine community. IMHO, nothing highlighted this better than the Boulder Colorado flood September 2013, butI would do well to remember it when the sun is shining too!
Posted on September 11th, 2013:
Boulder is under siege!
The slow moving storm(s) that has been delivering inches of rain over the last 48 hours is now holding the residents at ransom. As of a few hours ago, the Boulder landscape was saturated. Water is falling from the sky faster that it seems to run off… or it simply has nowhere left to go.
On top of it all, the mountains are also getting heavy rain and the deluge is making its way down the canyons and creeks in flash-flood fashion. The land that was scorched by wild fires last year is high risk for erosion and mudslides in this weather. In fact the 4-mile Canyon burn zone is currently being evacuated, with 911 calls going out to residents, telling them this is a life threatening event and they must move to higher ground, immediately.
As for me… Well, I just used my second best judgement to drive home from Longmont to Boulder. What should have been a 20 minute drive, was an hour. I did my best to avoid all the road closures that have occurred, but got stuck between Cherryvale Rd and 76th St, on South Boulder Rd, just as it was overcome with water and the police closed it. Yes, I was the Lexus going backwards up South Boulder Road. But at least I wasn’t the car stalled out and stuck in the river on the road!
Safely back in Martin Acres, I have not dared to look in my crawl space. In all probability, there is some water in there. I have shut off the furnace circuit breaker and will further investigate when there is a point to it. 🙂 According to my neighbors on the MANA list, I would be in good company if I did have some water infiltration.
No. I’m not in the high or moderate flood risk area. Check out the Boulder Flood Plain map. But trust me when I tell you, I drove along roads that were in the low risk area tonight… and they were under water.
Please be careful. There is a reason I am falling asleep to the sound of sirens tonight.
Posted on September 12th, 2013:
On Monday September 9th I posted a picture of a severe rain storm delivering heaving rain to my back yard in Martin Acres, Boulder. I honestly thought it would be done in a half hour or so… As is customary here. No. Boulder is flooding!
Seventy-two hours later, the rain is still going. My yard is saturated and with every increase in intensity, the water pools. My new grass is clumped and drowning and my garage, with the little water that is getting under door, is now a place where worms go to die.
I have ventured out just twice in the last 24 hours. The first resulted in my harrowing drive back from Longmont – but at least I got back! The second was this morning. It’s just not fun to discover you are ill prepared for staying home… That the cupboards are bare and you need to go shopping. 🙁
My drive through Martin Acres this morning was a journey of wonderment. Families played in water coursing down the road, kids threw sticks into angry creeks-turned-rivers and almost everyone had a camera phone in hand.
Like a slow moving train wreck, it was hard not look as Mother Nature pounded us into submission. But, every hour the water got higher, the damage got worse and the novelty turned misery. This is what the underpass looked like at Martin Park on Martin Drive. There will be no cyclists racing down here any time soon. The creek was so full that it was washing over the concrete wall.
As of this afternoon/evening it looked worse. The creek “jumped” its banks and was last seen making a new path/new creek through the neighborhood via backyards around 35th/36th St and Moorhead.
Pictures like the above one I took at the intersection of Broadway and Table Mesa show water coming up from under road, via manhole covers. As I got to King Soopers on Table Mesa, I saw more of the “river”. Bear Creek is 10x bigger than normal. It’s muddy brown and pushing debris downstream.
Sometimes, the rain subsides a bit… And the water level with it. But it’s short lived. Without fail it picks up again and the torrential downpour brings the water levels up again, perhaps even higher.
I have spent a good part of the day monitoring the MANAlist – Martin Acres Neighborhood Association listserve. It breaks my heart to hear the issues that folks are dealing with. It inspires me to see a collection of wet, tired and stressed people pulling together. Helping with info, equipment, kind words and offers of dry places to stay. Here are some of the hundreds of messages that were posted today:
One reason for the subsiding of the creek water recently was that Chris Kelly and a lot of volunteers were making a dam at the Martin Park at Martin. Chris had to leave and then the dam breached. As of half an hour ago there were people gathering to fill bags with sand and place them.
If you want to help, be prepared for cold and wet conditions. Expect to get completely soaked and be working in knee deep water on soft mud at times. The crowd is great folks, truly great.
They can use shovels and kitchen bags. If you’ve got a snow blade that’ll help a lot. Otherwise don’t bother with your car. If you’ve got a head lamp that will be helpful.
How do I stop the gas from flowing to my hot water pilot light in the basement since the water is over a foot in the basement? Help!
Western Disposal is not picking up in Martin Acres tomorrow.
Please leave your carts where they will not float away.
My ex just called — he and his family were sitting in their garden-level apartment on Thunderbird across from the park & ride when the door burst open and water started pouring in. It’s now chest-high in there (or was when they all got out). They’re on a higher floor at present, but I’m hoping they can get up the hill to stay with us here at Martin & Table Mesa — does anyone know if that route is traversable before I tell them to try to walk up, or any other thoughts/suggestions?
The water is coming into the basement through the toilet.
Any suggestions on how to block the toilet fountain?
Corner 41st and martin – it’s happening to me and the house next door.
The risk to life today and tomorrow are probably as follows:
1. Cardio failure
2. long term pulmonary duress
3. pneumonia from not keeping your head and feet dry
4. long term onset pneumonia from mold….start venting you house NOW from the highest point of air egress
5. not hugging each other enough
6. not reassuring our innocent children enough with the chips are down
7. eating too much ice cream during the deluge
8. not eating enough ice cream during the deluge
9. whining (leave all that to me)
A little known fact: more Americans died in industrial accidents during WWII than in combat = stay put, it will be over in a while.
I am on Martin Dr and the water is up to the house now. It is still best to just stay put. I have not heard anything about leaving. There is no way to walk or drive at this point.
Be wary of storm chasers looking to take advantage of desperation for immediate service……they will be knocking on doors with a smile. Hire only verifiable local firms
The “very low risk” is surrounding my house and there are waterfalls into the basement at the back windows. The pump’s running. Don’t know how much good it’s doing though.
So far we are dry here on 32nd and Ash. I know some of you are not as fortunate. We have three unused bedrooms and plenty of other space if anyone needs a place to stay.
Anyone have a wet vac we could borrow for an hour or so? We lent ours to my sister-in-law and now with Broadway being closed, we can’t get to her. We’re on 42nd and Table Mesa. Basement is starting to truly fill.
I drove to Home Depot in Littleton as they still have sump pumps. I don’t know anything about the different models. This a new word for me. I was recommended a model for $69 which can be submerged. There are 2 more left plus other ones at all different prices. I can hang out here for another 10-15 minutes. Call me if you want me to buy one for you!
I have a couple spare rooms should anyone need a dry place to stay for tonight.
We have a new creek (name that new Boulder creek contest?) flowing across our backyard – between Ingram Ct and Hamilton Ct.
My insurance agent called and asked not how I was, but how my house was doing.
I told him that I installed a French drain on the high hazard side of my house (south side) this winter and my basement is as dry as my sense of humor.
I know folks are evacuating. I saw them walking around with pillows.
Dry basement 3 dry beds, 4 spots on couches. I can come get you.
Let me know;
See what a wonderful neighborhood Martin Acres is? I’m blessed, truly blessed, to be surrounded by good, nay – GREAT people!
Sleep well everyone. Tomorrow is going to be another long day.