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Old 09-15-2013, 07:34 PM
Location: on a hill
346 posts, read 393,616 times
Reputation: 454


My main concern isn't only short term, but the health of our recently depleted aquifers. This is nice stuff to be filling many of the nearly empty ones up with. Good God!!

Old 09-15-2013, 08:08 PM
21 posts, read 30,503 times
Reputation: 40
I would not be surprised to see cases of autoimmune diseases skyrocket in the area due to fracking chemicals seeping into the water supply. It will be interesting to see the opinioms of others in another thread.
Old 09-15-2013, 10:56 PM
9,830 posts, read 19,583,824 times
Reputation: 7604
It's the equivalent of a can of coke being poured into the ocean and no worse than all the tons of sewage from Boulders finest citizens stinking up the state as it sloshes around.
Old 09-15-2013, 11:34 PM
10,102 posts, read 6,326,478 times
Reputation: 8423
I would be worried about raw sewage and leaking cars. They only use fracking fluid when drilling the well. It's not like drums of the stuff is sitting out there.
Old 09-16-2013, 07:33 AM
Location: wrong planet
5,128 posts, read 10,262,407 times
Reputation: 4196
Yes, please start a separate thread for that topic and keep the focus of this thread on the weather.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. ~Henry David Thoreau

forum rules, please read them
Old 09-16-2013, 08:16 AM
Location: Western Colorado
11,096 posts, read 12,481,863 times
Reputation: 26132
Blue sky and sunshine this morning in Ridgway. YAY! 48 degrees.

High pressure will build over western Colorado and eastern Utah today, with much less chance for showers and thunderstorms. Only Isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop over the mountains with the highest concentration over the Continental Divide. A strong low pressure system will move onshore from the Pacific and approach the area Tuesday and Wednesday. Stronger southwest winds are expected Tuesday and Wednesday. There will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms Wednesday and Thursday as its weak cold front moves through the area.
Old 09-16-2013, 09:30 AM
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 6,004,694 times
Reputation: 3407
Rescues and evacuations in the forecast for today. Sunny days and blue skies in the forecast for all by tomorrow.
Old 09-16-2013, 10:26 AM
1,742 posts, read 2,697,806 times
Reputation: 1925
Canon City is flooding also.
Old 09-17-2013, 08:17 AM
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 6,004,694 times
Reputation: 3407
Here's a great interactive resource:

Crisis Map 2013 Colorado Floods (provided by Google crisis response)
Old 09-17-2013, 01:08 PM
2,253 posts, read 6,042,628 times
Reputation: 2623
Wink In some cases "unprecedented"

"How blind and unreasoning and arbitrary are some of the laws of nature -- most of them in fact!"
— Mark Twain

On July 15, 1982, the Lawn Lake dam suddenly collapsed, resulting in severe flooding in locations such as Estes Park. As near as I can tell, the flooding Estes Park just suffered from this recent storm is less severe, and likely in part as not all at once. But also as the level of water through town was not as high.

Briefly as context—before moving on to these rivers—Lawn Lake is a small natural lake situated in Rocky Mountain National Park, at an elevation of about 11,000 feet, to the north above the Endo Valley. In 1903, a bunch of 'flatlander' farmers (by Colorado standards) from Loveland built a dam on that lake to increase its water level and size, towards irrigation uses downstream.

Anyone having driven up the Old Fall River Road in RMNP cannot have missed this, as the paved road leading to the east end of that dirt road must pass up and over the debris field of large rocks washed down the Roaring River due that sudden man-made flood. There is a parking area and restroom located just to the west of the Roaring River, and always a popular area with visitors.

Estes Park, for one, was severely impacted when that dam failed. My understanding that the small hydropower plant that F.O. Stanley (who built the Stanley Hotel) had built on the Fall River to provide electricity for his new hotel (and first electricity to Estes Park) was operational (if not perhaps in actual use) until that flood. One item it destroyed was the small dam upstream on the Fall River that this hydropower plant depended upon. The Roaring River, by the way, empties into the Fall River within RMNP in the Endo Valley. This hydropower plant still exists just east of the north entrance to RMNP. It can be visited anytime, with the interior open to public viewing during the summer.

This current flood saw the Fall River flowing down the main street of Elkhorn Avenue in Estes Park several inches deep and nearly up to or just over the bottom of doorways. My understanding that several businesses there had some water across their lower floors. The historic Park Theater in the center of town (that with the high white tower) appears perfectly fine, even though located just south of the Fall River. In 1982, it apparently had that river running through the front doors, down through the auditorium, and out the bottom.

Estes Park is fortunate not only in its superb scenery, but in being situated at the confluence of two major mountain rivers. The Fall River has its confluence with the Big Thompson in the center of town, just down the Riverwalk from the Park Theater. The Big Thompson was also naturally up due this storm. One concern with it, aside from its naturally greater volume than the Fall River, was the 2012 wildfire in RMNP along its banks above Moraine Park, with resultant debris flow. I'm unsure about that, but this river appears not to have risen to the level to do truly severe damage in town. My understanding as well that the 1982 (mad-made) flood through Estes Park did more damage than the 1976 flood, with the principal damage and great loss of life in that being downriver of this town.

Or, that Estes Park, for the damage it did suffer, was actually fortunate this time. And not that the Big Thompson River did not wash out and damage sections of US 34 downriver. In fact it appears that sections of this road in the narrows at the head of the canyon, just west of the Dam Store, were washed out. Anyone having driven on this road since the 1976 flood will be familiar with the extensive engineering of a road with high vertical concrete sides, seemingly designed to survive any catastrophe. Well, it did not, entirely. Indeed, just west of the Dam Store, this river was up to the level of the elevated roadway and even washing across it. The large amount of debris across the road is some testament to that (photos as well).

One reason may have been due the North Fork of the Big Thompson. This tributary of the Big Thompson River has its headwaters, like the Big Thompson, within the high peaks of RMNP. But in a different watershed to the north. Its headwaters officially begin with Rowe glacier, thence flowing in a generally southeast direction to a confluence with Fox Creek and West Creek at the small town of Glen Haven, and some eight miles downriver from there along County Road 43 to its final confluence with the Big Thompson at the small town of Drake on US 34.

Flood stage for the North Fork is 6.0 feet. Normal spring runoff does not approach that, and even then the river well confined within its channel and no threat to CR43 whatsoever. More normally this time of year this river is running clear and ever lower towards its lowest level in the depths of winter.

As with the Big Thompson, the North Fork was also affected by the unusually brief and heavy rain downpour on July 31, 1976. It severely flooded, washing out sections of CR43. With a peak flow of 9.3 feet, or the most in recorded history. Until now.

On the night of Thursday, September 12, more likely just after midnight, early on Friday, September 13, this river (as measured near Drake) reached a peak flow of 10.55 feet. Or the most in recorded history, and perhaps ever. The level of the river soon began to drop on Friday, but still very high, and basically running canyon wall to canyon wall in this narrow canyon. It is not until some 5.5 miles below Glen Haven that this canyon widens out somewhat into a narrow valley on towards Drake. At that point this river has breached its banks, and taken out the road in places, but not all encompassing. In the narrow canyon proper it is dominant. The better part of CR43 in that section is simply gone.

The decreasing flow of this river was reversed with continued rainfall, principally beginning again on Saturday. The river then rose again to near its peak flow and remained that way for over 24 hours. Its current flow is 8.7 feet. It is not projected to drop down to a flood stage of 6.0 feet until about 10pm on Wednesday the 18th. Nor to reach 5.0 feet, and quite high but out of danger until about 10am on Thursday the 19th.

The effects were in part rocks and large boulders cascading down this river for days during its peak flow. The waters across the entire canyon (the road being in the flood plain, mostly gone), the very muddy waters high and roiling. The roar from the rushing water intense. Most all in its path gone. If this river may resume its former channel, it will be distinctly different in nature and appearance from that before.

So that would have had some influence on the Big Thompson and all downriver of Drake. There has been talk of 100 year floods, even of 500 or 1,000 year, and this "epic" or "unprecedented." That may be hyperbole in some cases. If certainly unusual for such a widespread and prolonged storm system in Colorado, particularly in September. But as Colorado weather can not only be extreme but often spotty, all this will have varied. With this event in some places having been unprecedented.

No idea on where this ranks on their historical scale, but just ask the residents of Jamestown how they feel about this.


For those interested, following are two related links. The first is from the National Weather Service, with a graph of the streamflow of the North Fork of the Big Thompson. As this data is periodically updated it shifts forward, so in time not as relevant. Even now it does not reflect the initial flow of the North Fork. If perhaps there is some way to select a particular period (no idea on that):
Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service: Denver/Boulder: North Fork Big Thompson River at Drake

This second link should prove of interest to anyone wondering about the immediate after effects of this flood in the Estes Park region. On Friday the 13th, Larimer County Sheriff Smith did a helicopter recon flight from Loveland up along US 34 and the Big Thompson River to Estes Park, then swinging south to back up along US 36, and then down along County Road 43 and the North Fork. Rather rough YouTube footage, about 54 minutes in length, but with the camera specifically angled down to observe the length of these roads and nearby rivers. A good vantage to observe what was flooded or not, and what remains. While probably found elsewhere, this video is embedded in a NY Times article on the flooding (second video down from top):
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