Saturday, September 14, 2013

How high's the water mama?

Well, the rails are washed out north of town
We gotta head for higher ground
We can't come back till the water comes down,
Five feet high and risin'

Well, it's five feet high and risin'

Johnny Cash

Not much rain around here today, just the odd  sprinkle. I took advantage of the occasional  sunshine and gave the  camper a long overdue bath. Suzanne was called into her office in Boulder to help with the cleanup. There was a foot or so, of water covering the first floor offices (hers). Chris went along to help and Oliver spend the day with us.

This mornings Longmont paper was interesting. There were some 7,200 households evacuated from the flooded areas in town.  Three deaths in Boulder County and 172 people remain unaccounted for.  Two FEMA search teams, the CO National Guard and several local agencies have deployed a search team of about 250 people looking for the missing.

The Town of Lyons is completely cut off from road traffic save for the huge National Guard trucks. The town has no water, sewer, power or cell phone service.   Estes Park residents must use Trail Ridge Road across the RMNP to get to shopping.  I-25 is closed from the Wyoming line south to Fort Collins.

A road has been opened connecting north and south Longmont. The school system is inspecting all their facilities.  Right now school is scheduled to start on Thursday IF the damage to the buildings can be repaired and the roads and bridges used to get the students to school are safe.

More rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Keep Your Powder Dry

Tropical storms?  Hurricanes?  Routine South FL stuff. We've been through several.

A first for us in CO.

The rain started Wednesday and rarely stopped until late Friday. Per the city emergency management people, Longmont experienced a 500 year flood with rain totals varying from five to almost fifteen inches depending on where it was measured.  A 500 year flood  doesn't mean that sort of flood will only happen every 500 years. It can happen several times in any given year. A 500-year flood is one that only has a 0.2% chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. The 100-year flood has a 1.0% chance of occurring during a year.

Took a bike ride near one of the flooded neighborhoods
Longmont is divided north/south by the St. Vrain River. The river overflowed its banks on Wednesday, crested on Thursday and is still well above flood stage. We live north of the river and have had no standing water issues and never lost power. All along the river, homes are flooded. The newspaper is already carrying stories of people with flooded houses but no flood insurance because the water "never gets this high".  But it did.  When we lived in South Florida, we always carried flood insurance even though we didn't live in a designated FEMA flood zone because you can never tell just how much water a tropical storm or hurricane will dump. The typical homeowners policy covers wind driven water, i.e. rain, but not rising water, i.e a flood so if your house floods and you don't have flood insurance you are simply out of luck.
At this point, there are no open roads in this area that cross the St. Vrain River. The Old Timers are saying they have never seen a storm quite like this. The last 100 year flood in Boulder County was in 1894. There are several mountain towns that are totally isolated because all the roads have been destroyed by the floods.

The rain was a good leak test for the camper. I took a flashlight and carefully inspected everything that might leak. Found nothing.

We had planned on leaving Longmont on Friday, the 13th to drift slowly south to ABQ.  At this point, I-25 between here and Denver is closed because of flooding and a part of I-70 was down to one lane because of falling rocks.  We'll leave Sunday if we can.

Another change of plans:
A few minutes ago, it was announced that the local schools would be closed until Thursday because of flood damage and road closures. Of course Suzanne and Chris will be working, so we'll be taking care of Izzy and Oliver until Wednesday. Nice thing about being retired. No place we just have to be at any certain time.

The summer garden is doing great. Lots and lots of zucchini and yellow squash. We've been keeping our neighbors supplied. A good crop of Anaheim Peppers, lots of cherry tomatoes, a dozen, or so, raspberries  and three blackberries. 

A zucchini flower