It’s September 11, but I’m not really thinking about New York City. You’ll have to forgive me for that. Outside it’s cold (not even 50°) and skies are heavy with rain. All I can think about is that one year ago today the rains began. All across the Denver area, the Colorado Front Range, the foothills, and up in the high country.
And then the floods came. Here in the metro, low areas were flooded, parks and golf courses were inundated. Traffic was snarled. But elsewhere, it was so much worse. Mountain highways and roads were destroyed. Towns like Jamestown and Glen Haven and Salina were nearly wiped off the map. Estes Park, just beginning its big fall tourist season, was essentially cut off from the rest of the world. Boulder, Lyons, and Longmont suffered massive flooding, destroyed homes. drowned livestock, water pollution. It was, said the National Weather Service, an event of “biblical proportions.”
For a number of days I didn’t write about anything else. Some of you may remember that. Oddly enough, some of those posts continue to get a lot of traffic. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t land on this blog looking for information about which roads are open into Estes Park. A year later! I don’t know whether I should appreciate that they remember the floods or be upset because they don’t realize the roads were reopened very quickly. It was a real tour de force by the agencies involved, but those washed out highways were rebuilt and reopened within a few months. Work continues on Highway 36 from Lyons to Estes, but that’s because engineers decided to reroute portions of the highway away from the river and possible future floods. Even so, the road remains open, with only occasional delays.
The recovery continues, of course, for those who lost homes and businesses. Some people have rebuilt, some have moved away, and unfortunately some are still in limbo. Settlements and claims are still being negotiated.
Nevertheless, the recovery has been remarkable. Colorado is open for business.
(Note, Sept. 14, 2014: A local retrospective on the flood, aired today, said there are still 118 miles of flood-damaged roads awaiting repair. Permanent repairs for all the roads and bridges are expected to take from 3 to 5 years to complete.)
Related Pied Type posts from 2013:
- LiveScience confuses facts in Colorado flood story
- Colorado road closures and access to Estes Park
- RMNP ‘Dressed in Gold’ and ready for visitors
- Colorado flood and a horse named Socks
- Two routes into Estes Park reopen to visitors
- Estes Park tourists might return this fall after all
- Colorado strong
- Estes Park area webcams getting back on line
- Boulder flooding: An unexpected report
- Boulder flooding: Can you tell what this is?
- Denver: Here comes the rain again
- In Estes Park: Hwy 66 failing as Hwy 7 reopens
- Estes Park flooding (videos)
- Flooding in Estes Park; webcams, phones down
- Unprecedented flooding along Colorado’s Front Range