Routt County residents affected by Front Range flooding
September 13, 2013
Steamboat Springs — A 2011 Steamboat Springs High School graduate described Friday how this week has been anything but normal for students and residents in Boulder.
"It's been scary," University of Colorado junior Meghan Lukens said. "There are constantly sirens going off. It's also been like this for the past five days, so it got to the point where this was a big deal."
Lukens is riding out the Front Range flooding at her college home at the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house near University Avenue and Broadway in Boulder.
Front Range media agencies were reporting Friday afternoon that four people were confirmed dead. Since Monday, 14.62 inches of rain had fallen in Boulder.
Despite some signs that the weather and flood conditions were improving, emergency managers were telling residents to stay off the roads and to stay out of the flood waters.
"Right now, it's not raining for the first time since Monday," Lukens said at midday Friday.
At 9 p.m. Thursday, the power went out at Lukens' house and did not come back on until 4:30 a.m. Friday. Many of her housemates went to stay with friends, and it was recommended that no one sleep on the first floor.
With many buildings at CU in the path of flood waters, classes were canceled Thursday and Friday.
"We wouldn't be surprised if classes are canceled Monday," Lukens said.
Lukens said she and her brother, Penn, a freshman living in the dorms at CU, tried to come home to Steamboat on Friday morning, but the roads were closed, and they decided to stay for the weekend. Lukens said some students were blowing up tubes and playing in the water.
"It's just so exciting in Boulder right now," Lukens said. "This is a big weekend. People are going to be talking about this for a while."
Steamboat resident John Aragon also was in Boulder this week after learning a rental house he and his wife, Debbie, own near the CU campus had a flooded basement. The tenants were concerned.
"They were pretty scared about what was going to happen," Aragon said.
The basement gutters at the rental property were unable to handle the water, and Aragon pulled up the carpet and padding and set up fans to dry out the basement.
Aragon said he had no problem getting to the rental property, but it took him 2 1/2 hours to drive out of Boulder toward Denver on Thursday.
"Never seen rain like that before," Aragon said.
Although nothing like what has fallen on the Front Range, Steamboat also has seen a lot of rain this week. In the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Friday, Steamboat weather observer Art Judson measured 0.41 inches of rain at his home between downtown and the mountain. With 2.76 inches of rain this month, Steamboat already has exceeded typical September rainfall of 2.19.
The Yampa River at noon Friday was flowing at 198 cubic feet per second, nearly double the average for the date, below the Fifth Street Bridge in downtown Steamboat Springs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Routt County Emergency Management Director Bob Struble was unaware of any significant impacts related to the large amount of rain locally.
"I think we were so dry that it's all going into the ground," Struble said. "It helps with the fire conditions and makes everything look nice and green for September."
Rain remains in the forecast for the Routt County area through Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. Drier conditions are expected next week as a dry, southwesterly flow develops Monday.