It’s been over a week since the biblical storms hit Colorado and caused widespread flooding. Boulder saw its share of the action as well, large in part because the city butts up to mountainous areas where reservoirs, streams, creeks, etc. originate. People were affected in different ways depending upon where they lived. For my family and I, it’s almost as if nothing happened. A grateful and all at once unsettling feeling when within tens of feet from our house, massive destruction occurred.
The Monday and Tuesday before the floods took place I worked from home as I recovered from a head cold. On Wednesday I returned to the downtown office but not before meeting a good friend for coffee. The morning was ominous as I was dressed in full rain gear while I biked to the coffee shop. With less than a mile to ride I was completely soaked. It was more than just a drizzle, it was like the air was completely saturated with moisture. It rains hard in Boulder once in a while and this wasn’t necessarily a downpour that I was used to. The density was like nothing I’ve experienced before. It was more like the raindrops were falling closer together than they normally do. This is how I pictured it at least.
At lunch I remember walking on Pearl Street for a brief moment as I grabbed something to eat. I took note that there was water running down the walking mall. If I focused on a few stones on the ground, it was as if somebody had left a garden hose on and the water seemed to pass the point of forming puddles.
The day ended with all of us saying goodbye fully expecting to see each other the next day. The rain was wearing on us. Being from Colorado, we’re not really used to a day or two in a row where the sun is hidden. I think we were all optimistic that this would all clear up the next day.
For the next two days things got kind of crazy. The flood horns continued to sound throughout the nights (it’s always at night when things get creepy). These were usually an indication the local creeks were rising fast and to climb to safety if you were in the vicinity.
Our home was a few hundred feet in elevation to the main pathways of these creeks, a fact I continually reminded my wife of. In her head she feared that when these creeks flooded, all of Boulder was going under water (an exaggeration of course). I remember awaking multiple times during the night to peek outside and see what levels of water (if any) were building up around the house. Not being able to see much I looked for street lights that illuminate the gutters around the neighborhood and used them to judge the levels.
The rest is history really. News articles, tweets, pictures can better explain the details of what happened. This was my own personal recollection that I wanted to remember as the whole experience was a once in a lifetime one. At least I’m hoping so.
My Ongoing Memorable Notes:
- Some photos/videos I took while exploring.
- Twitter was an amazing resource to keep in tune with what was going on.
- I remember thinking, this is a natural disaster and usually people get glued to their television sets while watching the news. I now pictured everyone glued to Twitter on their phones. I know I was.
- The Thursday morning after the first flood night I took a ride downtown to see what I could see. It was still raining and most of downtown seemed to be business as usual.
- Lots of land had been displaced.
- Manhole covers dislodged in our neighborhood with explosive streams of water gushing from them.
- A good portion of North Boulder Park was under water. (1/2 block from our house).
- Many kids played in the flood waters of North Boulder Park, not realizing at first (or ever) that raw sewage most certainly existed.
- It became clear that water flows wherever land lets it. However land can violently move out of the way when the will of water is strong.