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Old 01-22-2010, 03:09 PM
 
Location: in my rented home
91 posts, read 258,723 times
Reputation: 87
Default Fort Collins flood danger?

We were all set to look into moving to Fort Collins until we saw that huge Horsetooth Reservoir with three dams overlooking the city and the river flooding reports from there. Are there any places to live in or near Fort Collins that are NOT in a flood area?
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Northern Colorado
608 posts, read 932,780 times
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Hi,

Thanks for looking into living in our city.

There have been no floods from the Horsetooth Reservior since its construction in the mid '50s. The height of the dams was raised in the early '90s, and then the dams were reinforced over a multi-year period about 5-7 years ago. I am currently living in the second home I have owned, almost directly beneath one of the dams, and my insurance company does not seem to be concerned (in the form of increased rates). Many urban areas are downstream from large bodies of water held back by man made structures.

In 1997, due to heavy rainfall, there was heavy flooding in town, resulting in large damages and some deaths. Since that time, the city has been working hard to reduce the chance of damage in town by regrading and creating new waterways and flood control. They also have installed automated rain gauges and sensors throughout town as an early warning system. Last summer we had some very heavy rains again, and there was some street flooding, but the work the city has done for mitigation seems to have made a difference in runoff patterns.

You can view the flood plain maps for the City of Fort Collins at this link:
Stormwater: City of Fort Collins
There are two maps, the city map, and the FEMA map. Look at both since there a few differences. You can also search by property address, in case you are looking at a specific property.

Yes, there is sometimes flooding in Fort Collins, but it should not deter you from checking into the area.

Have a great day,
Mike Weber
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:51 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,207 times
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Question Fema flood ins.

Can someone give me some good advice. I have just lost a sale on my home in Ault, Co. A buyer who wants to live in the country and loves this property but when the buyer found out that the flood ins. I carry is going up from 350.00 to 3500.00 per year, he may no longer be able to afford the property. What the heck is going on? Who gives FEMA the power to destroy peoples lives. This house has been on this property for over 100yrs and the house is on a hill, there is no water within miles not even a irrigation ditch, from my research there has NEVER been a flood in this area. How do they get buy with this, what can I do.
Looking forward to hearing anything positive.
Jeanie
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:11 PM
 
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Talking Fort Collins area a flood zone

My husband says that with all the lakes and snow melt from the mountains that the Fort Collins area could have problems with flooding especially if our climate keeps getting more and more extreme as it has been lately.

Is this a legitimate concern?

Thank you! So many things to think about when relocating for the place to raise your children and buy your first home.

I appreciate any help!
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Northern Colorado
608 posts, read 932,780 times
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Historically there has been flooding in Fort Collins, and there is a big concern about it this spring, with the record snow pack in the mountains above us. The two types of flooding that were most destructive were from runoff and from rainfall.

The flood in 1997 was from an unusually heavy rainfall event on the west side of town. The city has done a large amount of floodplain mitigation since that flood, in order to reduce the chances of damages due to a similar event.

Flooding along the Poudre is different, in that it can be affected by rainfall, but is more often seasonal, as high elevation snow pack melts off. Building restrictions have reduced the number of newly constructed properties in the floodplain, but there are some that have been there since before restrictions.

A relative few single family homes in town are in flood prone areas. You can go to the city's website and see floodplain maps showing the location of the floodplains in town. There are two overlays, FEMA and Fort Collins, so be sure to check both. By entering the address of the home in which you are interested, you can see a close up of the map showing that location and whether or not it lies in a flood plain. More information on this issue is available at: Utilities: City of Fort Collins.

Good luck in your search,
Mike Weber
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
1,094 posts, read 1,076,584 times
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A federal agency (probably Bureau of Reclamation) once created a potential inundation map based on the maximum potential damage if any of the dams failed when the reservoir was full. The only part of Fort Collins that was unaffected was the southeast area. I tend to disagree with people who don't think this is a big deal (and I live in the SW, so my house would likely be flooded if the southernmost dam went). While I agree that failure of any individual dam from natural causes is extremely unlikely, the fact remains that a tremendous amount of water is perched right above the third largest city in Colorado. Acceptance that it's there doesn't mean you can't question the decision-making process that allowed this (or occasionally cast a wary eye at the nearest dam).
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Northern Colorado
608 posts, read 932,780 times
Reputation: 445
I am not without concern when I look to the west and see that big dam above my house. However, given the potential loss of life and economic and other consequences that would result from a catastrophic failure, I feel confident that those in charge are doing their best to keep that failure from happening.

Thanks for the heads up on the Bureau of Reclamation studies. In searching for that info, I came upon the study completed in 2000, prior to the reconstruction of the dams. There are 3 documents I located:

Chapter 1 of the Horsetooth Reservoir Safety of Dams Activities Final Environmental Assessment EC-1300-00-02." (http://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/horsetooth_carter/horsetooth_safety_dams/htchapter1.htm - broken link)
Chapter 1 (http://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/horsetooth_carter/horsetooth_safety_dams/mod/chapter1.htm - broken link)
http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/economics/reports/SODDAMG2.pdf

While they contain good info and some sobering statistics, unfortunately none of them contains the potential inundation map showing the results of a failure. I'd like to see a copy of that if anyone locates it.
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Old 06-05-2011, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
1,094 posts, read 1,076,584 times
Reputation: 1092
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Weber View Post
I am not without concern when I look to the west and see that big dam above my house. However, given the potential loss of life and economic and other consequences that would result from a catastrophic failure, I feel confident that those in charge are doing their best to keep that failure from happening.

Thanks for the heads up on the Bureau of Reclamation studies. In searching for that info, I came upon the study completed in 2000, prior to the reconstruction of the dams. There are 3 documents I located:

Chapter 1 of the Horsetooth Reservoir Safety of Dams Activities Final Environmental Assessment EC-1300-00-02." (http://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/horsetooth_carter/horsetooth_safety_dams/htchapter1.htm - broken link)
Chapter 1 (http://www.usbr.gov/gp/ecao/horsetooth_carter/horsetooth_safety_dams/mod/chapter1.htm - broken link)
http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/economics/reports/SODDAMG2.pdf

While they contain good info and some sobering statistics, unfortunately none of them contains the potential inundation map showing the results of a failure. I'd like to see a copy of that if anyone locates it.
I'll look for it on the internet. I saw it when was published in the Coloradoan in the early 2000s.
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