sunday, september 29, 2013 B denverpost.com B the denver post


Stubborn storm wreaks havoc
Welcome fall rains became a deluge late the night of Sept. 11, turning placid creeks into raging torrents that raced east from the high country toward the plains, spilling from their channels, overtaking irrigation canals and inundating communities from the Continental Divide to the Nebraska state line.

What caused the storms
A cold front pushing down from Canada stalled over Colorado

25 85




36 7


71 144 39





2 A






119 72 119 36
E 470

Area of detail Boulder Denver


Ocean across Mexico.
70 70



Colorado Springs
C 470


25 85 285

A timeline of devastation
Wednesday, Sept. 11
• At least five overlapping flash-flood warnings are issued in El Paso, Boulder and Larimer counties as storm-swollen creeks and rivers begin roiling out of their banks. A Jamestown is torn in half by a mudslide, killing Joseph Edward Howlett, 72. B In north Boulder, Wesley Quinlan and Wiyanna Nelson, both 19, are swept to their deaths.

Sunday, Sept. 15
• At least 1,253 people remain unaccounted for statewide.

Thursday, Sept. 19
• State begins tracking damaged oil and gas facilities and related spills. • Hickenlooper names IHS Inc. executive chairman Jerre Stead, 70, to coordinate recovery efforts. E The body of 80-year-old Gerald Boland, a retired Lyons teacher and coach, is recovered not far from his home. • About 10,000 households have applied for $4.3 million in FEMA aid.

shuts down, FEMA aid will continue. • About 15,600 households have applied for $19.6 million in FEMA aid.

Monday, Sept. 16
• Body of James Bettner, 47, found in Sand Creek near Colorado Springs. D In Idaho Springs, 83-year-old Carroll “C.T.” White dies when the flood-weakened banks of Clear Creek give way and he is washed 3 miles downstream.

Tuesday, Sept. 24
• City of Longmont estimates flood-related damage to infrastructure at $148.6 million, including $80 million to put the St. Vrain River back in its channel. • The last person unaccounted for in the flooding is found. Final death toll: eight confirmed dead, one missing and presumed dead.

Thursday, Sept. 12
• Day breaks on disaster affecting a 150-mile long stretch of the Front Range. Rain continues. Thousands are evacuated. Lyons, Jamestown and Estes Park are left islands by washed-out roads. • Body of Danny Davis, 54, found in Fountain Creek near Colorado Springs.

Tuesday, Sept. 17
• Rain-free day allows aggressive rescue of people from marooned communities, although holdouts remain in Larimer County to protect their property. • No-flush orders continue in deluged communities, including Evans, where city has set out port-a-potties in neighborhoods. • Aurora’s state-of-the-art water reclamation system, Prairie Waters, shut because of flooding. • About 6,400 households have applied for $430,000 in FEMA aid.

Friday, Sept. 20
• Hickenlooper frees $20 million in flood assistance funding.

Wednesday, Sept. 25
• Damage to Boulder County-owned bridges, roads and buildings estimated at $91 million. • About 18,000 households have applied for $25 million in FEMA aid.

Saturday, Sept. 21
• Clean drinking water still an issue for flood-ravaged towns, including Ward, Allenspark, Manitou Springs, Loveland and Lyons.

Thursday, Sept. 26
• Total cost of making permanent repairs to washed out roads and bridges estimated at $475 million. • Hickenlooper contemplates a special legislative session to hash out flood-recovery plans, authorizes $65.5 million more in disaster assistance. • City of Boulder estimates infrastructure damage at $48.9 million.

Friday, Sept. 13
• Gov. John Hickenlooper declares 14 counties a disaster and frees $6 million in emergency aid.

Sunday, Sept. 22
• Assessment planned of nearly 200 high-country dams that held during the deluge but may be weakened.

79, are missing and presumed dead after their homes in the Cedar Cove community of Big Thompson Canyon are swept away. Starner’s body was later found near Sylvan Dale Ranch. • Rain continues. Flows in the South Platte River are 9 feet above flood stage near Kersey. • Thousands rescued by helicopter in Larimer and Boulder counties.

Saturday, Sept. 14 C Patty Goodwine, 60, and Evelyn Starner,

Wednesday, Sept. 18
• State drains $100 million from transportation contingency fund to begin road repairs. U.S. Department of Transportation kicks in $35 million. • Passenger and freight trains still being rerouted around Colorado because of flood-damaged track.

Monday, Sept. 23
• State begins lobbying for increased federal support, including asking Congress to lift a cap on emergency aid to $500 million from $100 million, as was done for states hit by Hurricane Sandy. • Vice President Joe Biden tours damaged areas by air, promises if the federal government

Friday, Sept. 27
• Larimer County estimates the cost to repair 20 miles of roads and 60 bridges at $55 million. Another $20 million to $34 million is required for road and utility fixes south of Estes Park.

Daily precipitation
A series of storms dumped more than 600 percent of normal precipitation for this time of year across most of eastern Colorado. The worst storms came Wednesday, Sept. 11, through Friday, Sept. 13.
One-day observed precipitation ending at 6 a.m. 0.01 0.1 0.25 0.5 1.0

Precipitation in inches 1.5 2.0 3.0 4.0




10.0 15.0

Wednesday, Sept. 11
25 76

Thursday, Sept. 12

Friday, Sept. 13

Saturday, Sept. 14




Following the flow
Rain from the storms flowed into creeks and rivers in northeastern Colorado, pushing a crest of water downstream. Precipitation that fell in Boulder on Wednesday night helped contribute to the flooding in Fort Morgan on Saturday.
1 Boulder Creek
North 75th Street east of Boulder 25 feet 20 15 Note: Data are provisional 10 5 0 10 5 0 No readings after 7 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 10 5 0 10 5 0

2 St. Vrain Creek
At Colorado 119 east of Longmont 25 feet 20 15

3 Big Thompson River
Moraine Park near Estes Park 25 feet 20 15

4 South Platte River
Near Colorado 52 north of Fort Morgan 25 feet 20 15 No readings after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 Peak: 24.71 feet 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14

Peak: 8.95 feet 3:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12

Peak: 6.86 feet 7 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12

Peak: 7.52 feet 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12

wed. sept. 11

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wed. sept. 11

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wed. sept. 11

thur. sept. 12

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wed. sept. 11

thur. sept. 12

fri. sept. 13

sat. sept. 14

Sources: Denver Post reporting and research; Mike Nelson, 7News; National Weather Service; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Federal Emergency Management Agency; U.S. Geological Survey

Dana Coffield, Severiano Galván and Thomas McKay, The Denver Post

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