It’s good news and bad for the Colorado foothills. As residents try to recover from five days of rain and over 24 hours of deadly flash floods, the National Weather Service warns of even more rain to come over the weekend of September 13-15, 2013.
More Rain for Colorado
According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Kelsey Angle, more rain is expected to fall on the Colorado mountain towns over the next few days, but the rainfall with be lighter, and the storms much smaller. Regardless, the ground is still saturated from days of record rainfall and any additional rain could cause flash floods.
“There is a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the weekend,” Angle told Decoded Science. “However, we do expect the intensity of rain to diminish and the mass of the storm to diminish, as well. The heavy rains are over and we’ll have dry weather in Colorado next week.”
Angle explained that the flood waters that caused catastrophic damage to so many small towns over the past few days are now spreading across the eastern plains. “This is more good news,” he said. “The ground to the east is not saturated, so it can absorb the flood waters.”
Reasons For Colorado Floods
According to Angle, there are four reasons why the flooding hit Colorado with such severity, including the topography of the land, which played a primary part in holding the storms in one place for so long.
“There was a moist air mass over the mountains,” Angle said. “This was joined by a slow moving area of low pressure reaching the frontal boundary of the foothills, which created a lifting mechanism to produce widespread rainfall.” Angle tells us, that’s when the storm stalled. The wind wasn’t strong enough to move the storm out of the area, so it continued to dump record amounts of rain in one place.
Once the rain began to fall, additional existing conditions fed the disaster. The ground was saturated from earlier storms and simply couldn’t absorb any more moisture. Some of the areas where the rain fell were still scarred from severe wildfires that burned earlier this year and last, destroying all vegetation, leaving the soil without any root systems to absorb and hold water.
The water that fell in the small mountain towns of Colorado, flooding homes and businesses, caused serious damage and three confirmed deaths, but earlier this morning the flood waters moved down the mountains and spread across the foothills into Loveland and Fort Collins, reaching out as far as Interstate 25, which remains closed this evening from Fort Collins to the Wyoming border.
Towns Most Affected By Colorado Floods
The list of towns affected by flash flooding is shocking and long. News of flash flooding first emerged from Boulder where the University of Colorado campus quickly flooded leaving many students and families stranded by a river that moves through the center of the city. Then mudslides hit Jamestown, followed by flash floods. The residents of Jamestown were evacuated earlier today by the National Guard. At approximately the same time flooding hit Boulder, Lyons, Colorado was also engulfed in flash floods with damage to houses and businesses, and the streets of nearby Estes Park became a raging river.
The video above shows the Fall River raging past Riverview Pines in Estes Park, Colorado. Video by Enjoy Estes Park, used with permission. All rights reserved.
The storm waters continued to move east down the mountains and into the foothills, flooding Longmont, Loveland and Fort Collins, home to Colorado State University. While much of the attention was on the mountain towns, cities further south and closer to Denver were also flooding, cities such as Milliken, Morrison, Evergreen, Erie, Eldorado Springs, Brighton, Aurora, and east Denver.
Colorado: Time to Rebuild
Although photos of the flood damage show a situation that may appear hopeless to some, this isn’t the first time the Colorado mountains have flooded with this severity and residents and business owners are already eager to repair the damage and get back to business as usual.
These business owners include people like Mel, the photographer who owns Enjoy Estes Park and provided the photos for this news article. Mel is now determined to focus her photographic work on efforts to rebuild the beautiful town of Estes Park.
“I am not going to post any more destructive videos or photographs of Estes Park,” Mel announced on her page on September 13, 2013. “I am going to travel around and start posting the rebuilding of Estes Park and also post photographs of Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park that you’ve enjoyed before this tragedy.”