Yes, it sure as hell is Friday the 13th.
Here in Longmont, Colorado, we have not had our share of natural disasters. In the 15 years I’ve lived here, there has been nothing. Until yesterday.
A friend of my son’s crosses a main road a 1/2 mile from our house
When I got a call from the school district at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday saying schools were closed due to flooding, I knew that most of the flooding was located in areas close to the river that runs through the center of Longmont. This river is small, and not even something that most of us give any attention to in our town.
The kids were shocked and thrilled at no school. I headed out for a 7 mile run in the pouring rain – it doesn’t rain much here in Colorado – and loved every minute of my solitary run along one of the local lakes. I saw a coyote, then a bald eagle. I felt so happy and at peace.
When I got home, Emma and I headed out to pick up a couple of things at the grocery store. At this point, it seemed flooding was pretty localized. When we got on the main road that goes through town, we began to see what all the fuss was about. Emma took this picture while we were driving. This is one of the main roads in Longmont:
I called Ken to tell him the roads were getting flooded, and he said he was on his way home from work. I told him we were going to pick up a few things and head home. Why we didn’t just head home then I’m not sure. Because I’m an idiot, clearly. In my defense, many people were out just doing their shopping like it was life as normal. I don’t think most people realized how bad it was getting.
Driving home from the store, we soon realized all roads cutting across town and over the river had been closed due to flooding. Our city was essentially cut in half by the river, and if you were on the north side, there was no way to go south and vice versa. The roads were jammed with miles of cars going nowhere.
Like many others, we had no way to get home. Now I know that when they tell you to stay home, you should stay home. Duh.
We drove around for about an hour and finally decided to go to my mom and dad’s house. We spent the day there watching the pouring rain and the news telling us of how things were going from bad to worse.
My dad loaded the police scanner onto is iPad so we could hear more about what was going on locally. People were being evacuated from our neighborhood, but not on our street. People were trapped on the second floors of homes and they were bringing in jet skis and boats to get them out. Our house sits slightly on a hill and the areas being evacuated are just down the block.
My dad and his control center:
I was glad to be with my parents, but also wished our whole family was together. Ken, Sam and Heidi were at home, and we were 3 miles across town with no way to cross the river and get home. I guess I could have just swam the 3 miles since that would be good Ironman training.
My mom invited some neighbors over and used what she had in her fridge to make a vegetable chicken soup and a cinnamon cake with chocolate frosting. Comfort food. She is a good person to be stuck with.
One of the neighbors said that her husband who is a doctor was able to get to the hospital (across the river) by driving really far south, then cutting east and north. Emma and I decided to try this at about 8pm. My parents live five minutes from us, but it took us an hour to get home as we drove 50 miles out of our way.
It felt good to be home. This morning, we really have an idea about the devastation, especially in nearby Lyons where the National Guard is evacuating the entire town. You might remember that Lyons is where I do most of my trail running and a lot of my cycling. I know Boulder, about 10 miles away, is also in very bad shape.
We live along a golf course and this morning the view from our deck looks like this. I guess now we live on a lake, not a golf course:
Ken just went out to check on the roads. This is about a half mile from our house. That person driving is more of an idiot than me:
The are still rescuing people by boats:
I guess my training is on hold for a few days. I know I should just not fret about that – there are bigger fish to fry right now.
It feels so surreal when something like this happens right on your door step. We are so fortunate to be safe and to not have any damage. Our thoughts are with all of the people who have lost their homes or are stuck and scared.
Have you ever been in a natural disaster? When we lived in Greece, we had a bad earthquake and also a forest fire that nearly burned down our home.