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Old 04-06-2010, 05:41 PM
 
16,168 posts, read 20,176,426 times
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Jazzlover is right, I remember that flood from August of 1976 in the Big Thompson canyon.

Eleven years before that was one I will never forget. Google in 1965 Denver Flood, and quite a bit of info will pop up.

I remember I was only out of school for the summer maybe two weeks or so when we had a couple stormy days. Then, on June 16th, all hell broke loose just a bit south of Castle Rock. Back then there was no such thing as accuweather, doppler radar, or any of that stuff. Forecasters would just call for weather to be stormy. This one was beyond stormy. The conditions were all just right and the storm was a cloudburst and a half.

I remember earlier that morning around 10 a.m. Everyone was driving on the street with their lights on. My Dad was working on a road paving operation near the Air Force Academy. My mom and I were watching KLZ (now KMGH) 11a.m. news with Bob Butz and Don Roberts and immediately they went into the weather situation.

Fortunately the police departments from Castle Rock to Littleton to Englewood to Denver worked frantically along so. Santa Fe Drive to evacuate business and residences along the South Platte river. I can't remember how high the flood crested, but I'm guessing 20 feet. It was an ugly scene that afternoon and evening-ugly.

Damage was eventually set at around 540 million dollars in the Denver area, and 28 people lost their lives. If not for the efforts of the police and fire departments, it would have been several times that amount. And what floated for dozens of miles upstream was a horrifying site of debris; wood, couches, refrigerators, stoves, chairs, beds, etc. And some dead bodies.Yes, and house trailers. Why? Along So. Santa Fe drive back then had more mobile home parks, and also between Tufts to about Evans there were some 15 to 20 unit mom and pop motels that sat on the west side of So. Santa Fe Drive. I believe back then those motels were built in the thirties.

It took a long time for things to get back to normal. The flood was was so powerful that it knocked down every bridge on the South Platte from Bowles Avenue to Colfax Avenue. I think of that amount of money in damages (540 million dollars) and it kind of boggles my mind what that would be in today's dollars.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 04-10-2010 at 08:37 AM..
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:55 PM
 
Location: USA Rez
153 posts, read 249,329 times
Reputation: 125
Default watch out while in Colorado

On July 31, 1976 I witnessed the worst disaster that I could ever imagine. My wife and I had lunch up at Estes Park...beer and pizza and did a little walking around looking in shops. At around 5 p.m. we were going to drive down the canyon towards Loveland (east) but decided to go over to Allenspark and across to Nederland to go down to Boulder, where we lived. At around 6 the heavy rains stopped us and we sat outside Allenspark for an hour...then drove slowly back home. When we arrived our niece was crying and frantic. On the news the flash flood was being reported that killed 179 in less than an hour. I went up there two days later to help find bodies and could not believe the destruction.

May 8, 1978 we had 48 inches of snow up on Olde Stage Road...the next morning ten fee of water wiped out our dog kennel next to a dry stream bed on the bad of our 2 acres.

Things happen in Colorado fast....you just have to be lucky to not be in their way.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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Jazzlover made brief mention of this in post #9. Yes, the Big Thompson River flood was devastating, to say the least.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:45 AM
 
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I, too, was an eyewitness to the June 1965 flood of Plum Creek and the South Platte River. Though I was just a kid, I will never forget it. I was in the area of the Big Thompson flood just a few days before it happened, too. And I witnessed the Labor Day weekend flood in southwestern Colorado in 1970--I won't ever forget that one, either. Contrary to popular belief, hurricanes can affect Colorado weather. That 1970 flood was caused by the remnants of a powerful Pacific hurricane slamming into the Southwest.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:18 AM
 
Location: WA
251 posts, read 486,032 times
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I remember a minor earthquake in 2002 up west of Woodland Park. Nothing "disastrous" about it, really.

I wouldn't be surprised if/when there's an eruption of the volcanic nature. Consider the Hot Springs over in the collegiate peaks.
What do you think heats that water? Lava!

Also, there seem to be a lot of falling rocks up on I-70.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Mile high city
795 posts, read 2,143,211 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngEntrepreneur View Post
I live in LA area, born & Raised I'm 23 male.

Never really even been anywhere- & we recently had an earthquake here. Just thinking- I think I may want to find another place to live. I want to move somewhere away from all Major Natural Disasters like: Earthquake, Tornadoes, Floods of any kind & Hurricanes.

Do you know if Colorado has any place like this?

And I have another question, Are there any parts that are not only disaster free but also Really nice? for miles & miles just nothing but nice area & not so Ghetto? & full of Crime? Over here in the LA area, you can have a $20 million home & be 20 minutes from really bad neighborhoods. Also, atleast around here- When you start driving away form the city, for some reason the number of Tweekers increase (Tweekers= Meth Addicts) & just Drug addicts in General.

So to live in a place away from all those things would be ideal! But if you only know of Disaster free, tell me about it anyway! please! thank you! And please educate me, tell me how you like your town Colorado or what ever. I looked on Google, Colorado Springs & Denver look pretty nice! And if you don't like something about it, Be honest! I'll be honest with you- I've lived in LA all my life, & it's not all it's brought up to be, I can go on for 35 minutes on why I don't like it here haha

And please don't hold out! if there has been any natural disaster of any kind, please let me know about it-regardless. And if you know of any tools I can use to help me find the area I am looking for, that would be ideal!

thank you!
Colorado has only had 16 major disasters since 1955. California by comparison has had 75. Colorado is pretty low on the disaster threat list.

FEMA: Annual Major Disaster Declarations Totals

Also, I read somewhere that Colorado has an extremely low death toll from its natural disasters.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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I've lived in the western slope of Colorado (Rifle, Parachute) since '93, and the weather is really quite mild. I've never seen a natural disaster. We are protected from tornados by the surrounding mesa, and we're not high enough in altitude for avalanches. Flash flooding does happen, but it's particulary easy to find higher ground. I've never witnessed an earthquake. Winters do cause some bad driving conditions, but it doesn't last all the entire season.

Personally, I would recommend Grand Junction. It's a college town, with population around 50,000 or so. Very mild winters, there is somewhat of a drug problem, but nothing compared to California.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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Actually, some of the worst "disasters" in western Colorado have been man-made: Such as the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent to remove radioactive mill tailings in Grand Junction, where they had been used for fill under residential areas. Many tens of millions more spent to remove radioactive tailings from a hillside just south and west of Durango (I remember being there in the 1960's and watching the wind blow radioactive dust all over town). More of the same up at Rifle. And now the feds are removing radioactive tailings from around Moab.

Then there was the idea to use an underground nuclear explosion in the late 1960's to "fracture" the rock and produce natural gas up at Rulison, near Parachute (called Grand Valley back then). Funny thing, nobody thought of the fact that the gas might be made radioactive! Needless to say, no gas produced from that deal. The explosion did cause a small man-made earthquake on the Western Slope, though. Now, I'm a supporter of nuclear energy, but you have to wonder what people were thinking (or not) at the time.

And who knows what kind of contamination nightmare may happen if production of petroleum from oil shale ever gets off of the ground (which I doubt that it ever will)--that could make all this other stuff look like child's play, just because of the amount of minerals and soil that have to be disturbed, water and chemicals used, and the huge amount of tailings that may possibly be produced. We might end up wishing for some just plain ol' natural disaster, instead of the man-made kind.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:54 PM
 
16,168 posts, read 20,176,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Actually, some of the worst "disasters" in western Colorado have been man-made: Such as the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent to remove radioactive mill tailings in Grand Junction, where they had been used for fill under residential areas. Many tens of millions more spent to remove radioactive tailings from a hillside just south and west of Durango (I remember being there in the 1960's and watching the wind blow radioactive dust all over town). More of the same up at Rifle. And now the feds are removing radioactive tailings from around Moab.

Then there was the idea to use an underground nuclear explosion in the late 1960's to "fracture" the rock and produce natural gas up at Rulison, near Parachute (called Grand Valley back then). Funny thing, nobody thought of the fact that the gas might be made radioactive! Needless to say, no gas produced from that deal. The explosion did cause a small man-made earthquake on the Western Slope, though. Now, I'm a supporter of nuclear energy, but you have to wonder what people were thinking (or not) at the time.

And who knows what kind of contamination nightmare may happen if production of petroleum from oil shale ever gets off of the ground (which I doubt that it ever will)--that could make all this other stuff look like child's play, just because of the amount of minerals and soil that have to be disturbed, water and chemicals used, and the huge amount of tailings that may possibly be produced. We might end up wishing for some just plain ol' natural disaster, instead of the man-made kind.
All very true. The Superfund cleanup list is alive and well in SW Colorado, that's for sure! I had an opportunity to work on the oil shale project for a couple employers, stayed where i was at, but did work for Kiewit construction on the Highline reservoir project on a temporary assignment for a few months.

I as well remember the 1970 flood Jazzlover mentioned in his previous post. And to underline a point about how bad things come in three's, it was only three, maybe four years later that a devastating fire roared through Durango's downtown in the early 1970's, I'm thinking late Spring of 1974. If memory serves, it was either the 700 block or the 800 block of Main St. that basically burned completely up. Jazz, I'm positive you remember them. I will say those old buildings were firetraps if memory serves. What was the cause of the fires?

Funny thing is, I was just there maybe a few days earlier. I worked for the Forest Service in the Summer and fall of 1968, was there visiting friends. And also bought some used vinyl at a record store that was in an upstairs building, I think it was called Great Divide Record Exchange.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 04-08-2010 at 09:29 PM..
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,197,447 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xube View Post
On July 31, 1976 I witnessed the worst disaster that I could ever imagine. My wife and I had lunch up at Estes Park...beer and pizza and did a little walking around looking in shops. At around 5 p.m. we were going to drive down the canyon towards Loveland (east) but decided to go over to Allenspark and across to Nederland to go down to Boulder, where we lived. At around 6 the heavy rains stopped us and we sat outside Allenspark for an hour...then drove slowly back home. When we arrived our niece was crying and frantic. On the news the flash flood was being reported that killed 179 in less than an hour. I went up there two days later to help find bodies and could not believe the destruction.

May 8, 1978 we had 48 inches of snow up on Olde Stage Road...the next morning ten fee of water wiped out our dog kennel next to a dry stream bed on the bad of our 2 acres.

Things happen in Colorado fast....you just have to be lucky to not be in their way.
My parents decided to go camping with me for the first time at 3 months old. They picked Big Thompson Canyon. My dad set up camp (they hiked a couple miles in to get a good fishing spot) and the rain started. They went about the evening, went to bed, and a couple hours later my dad woke us up and told my mom they were hiking out. He was very concerned about the rain that hadn't let up all night. In the middle of the night they packed up camp and hiked the couple miles out with a screaming baby. The next day the canyon flooded! It was a close call....my grandmother never let them live that camping trip down!

Natural disasters occur everywhere in the world. There are places where the risks are greater. However, your chances of dying in a natural disaster are far less than a car accident. Life has risks. I wouldn't choose the place you live based solely on the fact that it's earthquake/fire/flood/etc. free. That's just not a way to live, IMO. Good luck on your search!
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