Monday, September 16, 2013

Colorado Flooding Crisis #COflood

This time of crisis here in Colorado has given me the opportunity to reflect on the many blessings in my life!

I just moved to Northern Colorado in February thinking I was finally getting away from the rain/water weather events common to the Florida Gulf Coast. While I did escape the tropical humidity and hurricanes there is no getting away from natural disasters. In the past week we went from warm sunny summer days into monsoon hell.

After surviving my first winter here (and being blamed by coworkers for the uncommon snow on May 1st) I relaxed into a warm, gorgeous summer, ignoring outlandish tales of Native Coloradans about "monsoon season." Ha, what could these Westerners know about monsoons. I grew up in the sub-tropics and figured most people here had no clue what a monsoon was only to be proven woefully wrong.

Typical monsoon season here happens typically in July and August with daily evening rain showers. Reminds me of back home where evening rain showers were common in spring/summer. After experiencing monsoon season here I was not impressed in the least and utterly dismayed with Coloradans lack of driving skills in the rain. Ha, what's a little rain.

Septembers are normally mild weather months with little to no rain or drastic weather. This past week has been nothing but rain. The monsoon flow stalled out over us, flooding creeks, rivers, dams, lakes resulting in raging water flows, mud and rock slides and massive, widespread flooding. One weather report said we got over 2 trillion gallons of water dumped on us during the week. As with anything else in life, shit rolls down hill! All that water up in the mountains did exactly that. Three overflown rivers converged into one huge mess here in North Central Colorado.

My family and I have been truly blessed, managing to remain high and dry while houses and farms not 1/2 mile away have been devastated. Our worst inconveniences have been boiling water and having to drive creative routes that take longer to get anywhere. Yeah, very blessed! Basements are flooded with water, mud and sewage while other homes have been completely destroyed. Cars are flooded, swept away by water flows, along with livestock and pets. Yes, I am definitely counting my blessings! And I am heartened to see how many neighbors are helping neighbors during this difficult time.

Here are some of the latest figures:
7 confirmed dead
1,253 unaccounted for (not heard from by family)
11,700 evacuated
1,502 structures destroyed
17,494 structures damaged
30 bridges destroyed
17 counties effected (2,380 square miles)
600 Colorado National Guard and active duty Army personnel assisting local emergency officials
2100 residents rescued along with 500 pets
More than 1000 are still awaiting rescue

I did not personally take the following pictures. These are some of the thousands of photos posted online just to give you a glimpse of the devastation that cannot truly be reflected in a picture. My thoughts and prayers are with all those effected by this disaster and my heartfelt thanks to all the amazing National Guard and other first responders who have selflessly reached out to help those in need.

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