It has been unbelievable, awesome, and devastating here in Boulder, Colorado.
A very unusual double storm system kept rains falling on Boulder County and Colorado instead of quickly moving through as storms normally do. The result was 15 inches of rain in a few days – compared to the average 21 inches we get per year.
We have broken all precipitation records and the result was the feared 100 Year Flood. Streets ran with water, basements flooded, and unfortunately lives were lost. Boulder Creek, which normally has a flow of 300 cubic feet per second, was flowing at a staggering 5,000 CFS. Hardest hit were nearby towns with Boulder County including Lyons and Jamestown, both completely cut off due to flooding and road deterioration. Residents of both cities had to be airlifted (Jamestown) or transported by the National Guard (Lyons) out.
The damage was widespread, covering all of the Front Range. The city of Boulder itself was the epicenter but, in the end, survived amazingly well. Flooding has been the number one natural disaster concern of officials and residents for years, since the city is located on the plains surrounding Boulder Creek which flows out of the mountains. This fear has been exacerbated in recent years due to the large Four Mile Canyon forest fire that denuded large swathes of forest above the city, a severe problem because the lack of vegetation increases runoff and flood potential.
On Thursday night around midnight, an observer in Four Mile Canyon called in that a “wall of water” was roaring down the canyon, carrying debris and even cars with it. Sirens flew in Boulder and a portion of the city was evacuated. Residents in that area were urged to seek higher ground immediately. I live three blocks from the evacuation zone and we were put on alert.
Ultimately, the wall of water dissipated and never materialized in the city. We ducked the really big blow.
The city, county, and state are not through with things yet. Homeowners are repairing damage, the road departments have a lot of work to be done, and the mountain town residents are trying to put together their shattered lives.
But today it was sunny and hot. The University of Colorado is starting up school again, high school sports will resume, and life will move on.
Yes, the Fitness & Health Social Media Conference will continue as planned. Our hotel in Boulder was mostly unharmed, the airport is fine, and roads into and out of the city are carrying traffic. Our planned hike on Thursday on Mt. Sanitas is currently closed but I expect it to be open in time and, if not, we’ll make adjustments.
See you all in 10 days!