100 Year Flood

It's been raining for almost four days now here in Boulder, Colorado.  Last night, everything still seemed relatively normal, though the storm drains and irrigation ditches carried a bit more water than usual.  As the rain continued to pour down, we quickly crafted some aluminum foil boats and went out to race them in the streets.  For the record, I went 4 and 1 in the inaugural flood races.

Boat races aside, things changed drastically overnight; the rains grew heavier and increasingly relentless.  We woke up this morning to news of road closures, flooding "creeks," collapsed buildings, and fatalities.  The lovely town of Lyons, which we drove through just two days ago, is currently an island; there is zero road access in and/or out of town.  The National Guard arrived this afternoon to begin rescue efforts (especially in Lyons), but the persistent heavy rain is keeping helicopters grounded.

Some are saying this was long overdue, that this is a "100 Year Flood."  Meteorologically, a 100 year flood is an event that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year.  For any of you jam band or live music fans, this may bring to mind the String Cheese Incident song of the same name.  Yet, even more so, such an event reminds us of the unrestrained power of nature, and particularly, the immense force of water.  Cars float away in as little as one foot of flowing flood waters, and trees and boulders get tossed around like sticks and stones.

Graham and I went out twice this afternoon, both times to Boulder's Central Park.  Usually a relatively calm and predictable feature in the park, today, Boulder Creek raged under Broadway like the Colorado after the Spring snowmelt.  Calling it "incredible" or "breathtaking" would be a vast understatement.  "Soul-stirring" is somewhat closer to the feeling, though it too manages to fall short of the true experience.  Along with the video below, photographs and more videos can be accessed via my TwitterInstagram, and YouTube accounts.  For now, particularly for those of you in Boulder, take care, stay dry, and be smart.  It's horribly and entirely possible that the worst has yet to come...

Update:  Current estimates range from 50 year flood to 500 year flood, depending on the area.  As of noon on Friday (the thirteenth), it's finally sunny here in Boulder.  Possibly more rain to come, but cleanup and rescue efforts have begun in full force.