Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Blogger has been down for a week or more, so I couldn't post all the posts I wrote mentally, and then I forgot some, so I'm going to cover the same information with quotes from my journals, now that Blogger is up again.

September 13, 2013 4:22 am (or so)
I got a call at 4:30 am that said the schools were all closed for today because of flooding. I had already been alerted via facebook by Chris Schenk that something was going on with flooding in Boulder, but I was surprised they closed the schools here today. And tomorrow. The kids were disappointed and angry (isn't that funny?!).

Then it continued to rain all day. It's been raining for days now, and I love it. But the FLOODING. Oh my gosh. Several smallish dams washed out up the canyons, many roads washed out completely. No bridges have gone that I've heard of, but all the dams, even the ones that didn't wash out ,have been overtopped by flooding waters, and many of the bridges have water flowing over them. Roads are buckling. Several have collapsed completely. And all this within Boulder County! I see this stuff on the news all the time, but this time it's MY town, my ward, my stake that is being covered in water. It was a mix of unusual monsoon activity blown up here from Mexico that just hasn't stopped dumping water combined with mountains that were scarred by fire, eliminating their ability to hold water (all the spongy undergrowth burned up) and sealing the ground somewhat up high, so the water all runs down and down some more toward us. The ground, after 3 days of heavy rain, was saturated down here, so the water couldn't soak in. Perfect storm of ingredients for massive flooding, and that's what we have.

The normally low and slow St. Vrain River, where I even let my 2 year old wade across unaided because it's so gentle and shallow (12 inches at the deepest spots where we go), is raging along, ten feet deep and spilling out of its banks all over, flooding businesses and homes and the fairgrounds and roads ...and this time they're all roads I drive on all the time! It's flooded—severely--and they don't think it's peaked yet—cutting Longmont in half, and neither side can reach the other. We, luckily, are on the uphill side of the flood, so we're safe, but thousands of people are evacuated, and I was worried all day that Tim was out in Denver, on the other side of the flood, but he made it home safely enough by staying on the freeway past the flood and coming around and back down to our house. He made it just in time. An hour later the water overtopped the freeway, too, and now I-25 is closed.

So I spent all day glued to the computer, reading stories of Sister Fritz taking her granddaughter (3 years old) down the street from the house to look at the flood and then turning around and finding the flood waters had risen behind them to almost impassable in 3 minutes, and of members taking blankets and socks down to the evac centers. Looking at video people had taken from all around town.

When the rain let up just a little, I dressed all the kids and we walked south to the crest of the hill, right where the road is closed, to see if we could spot the flooding from a safe distance. We could only see a tiny bit. If it had just been me and Benji, we would have walked down there and looked up close. He's always wanted to see a real flood. But I didn't want to walk everyone down there because it's uphill coming back, and it's about a mile from the house. So a long walk to come back uphill in the rain after.

... [Then] Tim reminded me when he finally got home—we're supposed to leave on tour to Nebraska tomorrow. I hadn't prepared at all. He stopped at WalMart on the way home for tarps and diapers for our trip, and said the cashier was so cheerful with him and then she said, 'We lost everything. The flood filled our basement. My husband finally cut a pipe, and now the water is flowing out instead of in, but our house is ruined.” And there she was, at work. Tim's heart broke for her. He said we'll likely be hearing that story a lot in the next few days. Waiting to hear if everyone I know is still alive. 3 deaths have been reported so far, but no doubt more will come.

We got called by both our home teachers and my visiting teacher this morning, everyone checking if we're okay. I guess they activated all the phone trees for everyone to check on everyone and see if all the members were safe. So far, some houses have been damaged by water, but nobody is homeless that we know of.

Oh, and the floods are so severe, they've cut off several towns from any aid. Lyons (in our stake, and only about 6 miles from here), is completely cut off, with all roads into and out of town covered with water, and one of the two bridges into town about to collapse. The sewer, water, electricity, and gas and the only grocery store for the whole town is shut off now or destroyed, and the people are stuck, most of them having scrambled to higher ground in town, but left with only what water and food they had on hand for the next 72 hours.

I immediately thought, “Oh, no! What do we have on hand?” Thank goodness for the prophets' advice—we don't have a full years' supply, but we do have enough food and water stored to get through 72 hours if it were us cut off from the rest. Jamestown, up the mountain, is also completely cut off and might be completely destroyed. Highway 7, which we came down from one of our Monday Adventures, has been washed away in multiple places in ways that will be difficult if not impossible to fix. Estes Park has 3 major roads into and out of town, and all three have washed away—not just been covered with water. The only way in and out now is Trail Ridge Road, which is a dirt road that is impassable in wet or snowy weather and is due to be closed any day because it shuts for the season when it snows, and it's way high up and snows early there. Might have snowed already. Roads in Loveland and in Lafayette have washed away completely, including major arterial roads like 287 and Highway 34. Highway 66 is shut multiple places.

So. Much. Water.

Yucky, brown, churning water full of debris.

Seems like every time a stake I'm in fasts for water, we get floods. Happened in 1983 in Provo, too. Except here, they ran out of sandbags!

So we're pretty sure we can leave town for Tim's tour (and might be good, just in case the drinking water in Longmont is compromised). Pretty sure the two singers in Boulder can't get out. Will be an interesting show!

This could be miserable. I hope our flat roof doesn't fail while we're gone. Or while we're here for that matter.

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