Underwater in Colorado
You may have seen on the news that we are a little soggy here in Colorado.
That’s one of my silly understatements. The National Weather Service is describing some of the flooding as “1000 year events”, and even used the word “biblical” to explain what is occurring in Colorado. [source]
If you are not familiar with Colorado, you have to understand that we just don’t get much rain here, ever. The climate is dry and arid and the worst natural disasters we usually contend with are wildfires due to prolonged drought and extreme heat – like the one that almost had me evacuated in June.
But some weird forces of nature have been conspiring against us and in an unlikely turn of events, we have been getting oodles of monsoon moisture at a time of year when we are usually dry.
Since many thousands of acres of land in Colorado have been scorched by recent fires, the earth is ripe for flash flooding with even a small amount of rain. (The soil composition is compromised and altered after wildfires because there is no more vegetation left to absorb moisture.) So this amount of rain is catastrophic for us.
Add to the mix, the hilly, mountainous terrain and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. All that flash flood water from the burn scars comes tumbling down the mountain sides and pools in the narrow canyons, overwhelming the gulches and transforms rapidly into walls of water that come crashing down into the communities nestled along creeks and steams.
Mudslides, rock slides, debris slides. There is no way to out-run it if you are caught in it.
As of the time of writing this, 6 people have been confirmed dead due to the flooding over the past week and hundreds more are unaccounted for throughout the state of Colorado.
We are okay thus far in my little corner of Colorado. Only minor flooding in my town and very little property damage. The old girl – my house - is still standing defiantly 130+ years old, no matter what the Colorado weather has thrown at her.
But highways have been cut-off - even completely washed out from the rain - hundreds, maybe thousands of homes have been destroyed and untold amounts of property damage to communities along the front range.
Thousands of people and animals have been rescued and air-lifted to safety but are now without homes – at least for the time being.
Mother Nature is angry with us. Snarling, striking, raging angry. And we probably deserve it. Damn humans.
Yeah we’re still standing here in Colorado, but dang it, we need a break!
(Oh Gods of weather – we implore you!)
****Update Sunday 4:50pm:
Colorado Office of Emergency Management estimates 17,494 homes damaged and 1,502 homes destroyed by Colorado floods.
In addition, 11,700 people have been evacuated and a total of 1,253 people are unaccounted for.