Friday, September 13, 2013

100 YEAR FLOOD

I am not sure which is more nerve-racking - wild fires or flash floods.  In 2010, the Four Mile Canyon Fire came within about a mile of our place, and I wrote about it here.   And now it looks like we are in the midst of a 100 year flood here in Boulder and surrounding counties.  When the rain started last Tuesday, it was welcome - it had been fairly dry and Sunshine Creek, the small seasonal stream that flows next to our property, had dried up.  But the rain kept coming - and coming, and coming.  I emptied our rain gauge at 5" and the next day it had overflowed at 6" and today it has another 3+ inches.  At the moment, there is a break in the weather, but the forecast is that the system will not move out of here for another couple of days, although the worst seems to be past.  There is a very large low parked over Utah and it continuously pumps monsoonal moisture that appears in waves of heavy then light rains.  Because the low has not moved much, the rains tend to fall at the same places.  Boulder county seems to have been a primary target.  One can find a lot of information about the floods including places like the New York Times.  But the following are some pictures that I took of our immediate neighborhood - the very good news is that opposed to many, many folks in Boulder, our place remained high and dry.

This picture was taken just uphill to the northwest of our place - this is supposed to be a path with the creek passing through a small culvert that runs under the path from the cement wall on the left to the tree on the right.
 
Downhill from the picture above, this is the path as it passes past our place, about 20 feet from the corner of the house.  Yes - the path, not Sunshine Creek - if you expand the picture, you can see the creek on the other side of the trees that separate the path from the stream.


A bit further down hill, the path opens up to the driveway and parking outside of our garage.  The water passed by the corner of the garage [about where this picture was taken], and we kept it out of the garage with several home made sand bags.


A video of the path.



Just a bit of the debris that flowed with Sunshine Creek - and some of it was much larger than this stuff!!


Just across Spruce Street from our place are two city tennis courts that sit in a bit of a bowl next to the creek - yes, that is the very top of one of the nets in the middle of the water.


The worst seems to be over for Boulder, and thus the clean up will soon begin.  However, all of this water is going east, so many down stream places are now flooding including as far east as Kansas.  It will be interesting to see if the weather folks officially declare this to be a 100 Year Flood. 

20 comments:

Unknown said...

It has been raining here since Tuesday also, but not as heavy. We did measure 4.5 " since yesterday afternoon.
Thanks for the pictures. Glad you are still dry.
--Wilder

Bizzy Brain said...

Thanks for the update. Was wondering how the flood affected you. Any thoughts on reconsidering your views on evolution? Lol!

Wendy Davis said...

I'm glad that everyone fared well! I was imagining the ditch overflowing or window wells filling up. The pictures of the culvert and of the tennis courts are dramatic!

Anna M said...

wow wow wow. glad you are safe.

Douglas E said...

Wild Man - hope that you don't end up with as much as we have!! Looks like we are going to have a few more rounds of rain. East of I-25 is really getting it now with all of the volume moving that way - literally 1000's of acres under water.

Douglas E said...

Bizzy - it hasn't rained that much!! :-)

Douglas E said...

Wendy - the very good news is that the ditch company closed down the intake gates, so Farmer's Ditch has not been a threat.

Douglas E said...

Anna - it's somewhat ironic that we live within 20 feet of a raging creek and most of the flooding has been in places quite removed from major or minor creeks. Lots of street flooding and then into basements and garden level homes. And Boulder is not the worst hit place!! Total destruction will be in the billions.

LK said...

And you wanted me to visit! I never thought I would say it...but it might
be safer in Malibu! Keep me informed.

Lee

Douglas E said...

Good one Lee!! And unfortunately on target - seems like we have had more problems recently than you all have had in Malibu. Now that we have the flood out of the way, you can make your plans to visit :-)

Al said...

Hi Doug: Wow. It sure makes going out for a jog seem impossible. I know it is a crisis, but your photos are great. At least there were no bodies passing by on the path (stream). Stay well.

Cheers Al

Douglas E said...

Howdy Al - Might be able to make it out tomorrow for a jog - walked a bit today and mud is the biggest problem! If we had been one canyon/creek north, Pinebrook rather than Sunshine, bodies floating by would have been a possibility - man and woman swept away by fast water and both drowned. Only other fatality was in Jamestown where a structure collapsed, killing one.

Cousin Paula said...

Glad to see you haven't washed away. Also very glad You & Douglas are helping Slugger with chicken-yea!! See you in a few weeks if you haven't washed away-keep dry!!

Douglas E said...

Thanks Paula, and see y'all soon.

Anonymous said...

Ann and I were visiting Doug and Rhonda at the time of the flood. After two days of rain and drizzle, after the ground was saturated, the storm struck. Rhonda awakened us at 1:00 AM to tell us that the creek was out of its banks and around the rear tires of our car, which was parked in the driveway. When I got outside Doug was already there. We moved by brand new car to his neighbor's driveway which was slightly higher. That's all we could do. The power of steep and massive water is humbling. In the morning there was a lull in the rain. The creek retreated a bit and we made our getaway. Boulder was not easy to get out of and will be a long, long time recovering.

Douglas E said...

Ken - thanks for the comment; glad that you told the tale of the first night of flooding. I will add that I woke up at about 1 am and there was a strong smell of dirt/mulch in the air. I thought that was strange and possibly not good, and then I heard the roar. At first I thought it was the pounding rain that had been going for some time, but then it became clear it was the roar of Sunshine Creek. I came to be able to gauge the level of the creek by the sound of the roar. The sound made Rhonda so nervous that she decided to sleep in the basement to escape, and to also keep an eye out for any seepage. All dry so far.

Emily Willems said...

I saw the article in the New York Times and emailed Mom and Dad. They sent me your blog link. Glad you are safe! It has been raining heavily here in Vermont, but not like that!

Douglas E said...

Hi Emily - there is supposed to be more rain today, but hopefully it will not be too much. Stay dry!!

D. Daugherty said...

So glad the hear that you and Rhonda are safe, Doug. :-)

Love from the Daughertys

Douglas E said...

Thanks Daniel! It's raining a bit this morning, but hopefully it will not amount to much.