Friday, September 13, 2013

Flood

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.

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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:IMAG1998

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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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The are still rescuing people by boats:

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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.

SUAR

64 comments:

  1. Michelle in MichiganSeptember 13, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Be safe!

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  2. Watching the news and seeing footage of Longmont, I was wondering how you were all doing. I am glad your house is situated high enough to be safe and dry. Fort Collins is just beginning to flood by the Poudre River but things are good where we are. Stay home today!

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  3. holy crap! stay safe and I hope you all start to dry out soon

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  4. Yikes - the flooding there is being covered everywhere. Glad you are safe and okay!

    Natural disasters - In one week, I experienced 2 natural disasters while living on the East Coast - Hurricane Irene and then the earthquake that hit the DC area about 2-3 years ago. Crazy, I'll never forget what an earthquake feels like. Ever. Been through a couple of tornado misses, but still haven't experienced a full-on tornado (and I actually WANT TO!), but my parents had one touch down and take out my entire childhood neighborhood (like, Red Cross bad). Been through bad bad blizzards and some monsoons in Arizona. Husband was through one of the worst floods in the northern plains in centuries (the Red River Flood of 1997), so I think all I'm missing is a forest fire or maybe a tsunami/typhoon and I'm covered. :-) Stay safe over there!

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  5. Wow - glad you are relatively unscathed. How scary!

    We also "lived through" the Earthquake (which was nothing, really) and then Hurrican Irene (which was). We didn't have power for a week and lost a few trees in the Hurricane, which was no fun. We were in St. Louis last year when Super Storm Sandy was bearing down on the mid-Atlantic and it was very weird to watch the coverage and not be at home to make sure everything was ok.

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  6. Stay safe!!! Our area is ok, but there were evacuations about 6 miles away from the dam that broke in Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Kids still had school today here though. My husband works in Boulder and drove in yesterday morning (unaware at 6:10am when he left of just how severe it was over there) but came home at 9:30, thank goodness.

    I lived in So Cal in the San Fernando Valley when the Northridge earthquake hit. We happened to be in San Diego when the actual earthquake struck, but we dealt with a lot of the damage and aftermath to freeways and such.

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  7. Flooding is scary! I'm in Calgary-late June our city had to worst flooding in a century and it will take years to repair the damage the flood waters did. I'm fortunate to live on a hill, but could see the river from my street-it didn't even seem real to see, and HEAR, it rising! Stay safe!

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  8. Still shaking my head, sad yet ammazing to witness. We stayed and are dry, but we are stranded with Left Hand south of us and St. Vrain to the north. My heart is breaking for all affected. Our poor area!

    P.S. Where is the pic with all the folks in the road? And do your folks live by Airport and Nelson?

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    1. That is Hover - people trying to get from south side to north I think near 3rd ave.

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    2. Yea, see it now and just wow! thanks.

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  9. I grew up in New Orleans where there are a lot of hurricanes and floods. So yes, I've seen my fair share. Now I live in Kansas with tornadoes. I prefer hurricanes.

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  10. We've lived through several tornado outbreaks down here in DFW since we've been here. There's something insidious about flooding though. At least with a tornado it hits, and then it's gone. Flooding just inexorably gets worse and worse. Plays with the mind.

    Hope you and yours stay safe!

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  11. I keep thinking of everyone I know in Lyons. It really is a mess.
    I am so grateful we live in a second story condo in south Boulder. Bear Creek and S Boulder Creek were pretty bad last night. The bike paths have done amazing things to curb the water from going everywhere. I am slightly worried, however, that all of my running routes have been destroyed and I will be resigned to running on the dreadmill for the rest of my marathon training cycle. (eek!)

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  12. The closest we've come is when we had really bad floods one year. We were fortunate enough that the levee broke on the "other side" of the river. It was pretty scary though!

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  13. Glad you're safe. Been following the story as we have family in Boulder.

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  14. Such scary stuff. So glad you all are ok and out of the really bad stuff. I don't think anyone ever thinks something like this will happen on their doorstep...

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  15. Hope you and other buddies are ok. Stay dry. Calgary had those huge floods earlier this year, with hundreds of homes destroyed and downtown evacuated for the better part of a week. Do not go in or around the water, you don't know what's been undercut or washed away. We were warm and dry, but lost a few days of work, so no big deal. Many others lost everything. That felt, and feels, sort of strange.

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  16. Oh my goodness, crazy! I do love that you had such an All-American run the morning of: a coyote AND a bald eagle. Then throw in the National Guard. Perfection. Stay safe and enjoy the forced break...

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  17. That's crazy :S I'm glad you are safe!!!

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  18. Glad you are safe. Thought of you yesterday when I was hearing about the flooding.

    We lived 13 miles from the epicenter of the Northridge Quake in 1994 and deal with wildfires just about every year.

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  19. I went through the Northridge earthquake in '94. i live just a few miles from the epicenter. it was terrifying. the aftershocks went on for days and tapered off into months. we were very lucky that we didnt have too much damage to our home and we were safe. My husband was well prepared having lived in LA a few years before i got here. It really teaches you to have an evacuation and meet up plan in the future.

    So glad that you and your family are safe. you'll be in my thoughts.

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  20. Glad you're okay and you have no damage. I was stuck in Hurricane Sandy, with my three kids that had hand foot mouth disease. My husband was 2,000 miles away in TX that month. We had no family close by. Good thing I had good friends that checked up on me!

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  21. Stay safe and away from the water! When Calgary flooded this spring it was so surreal to watch it from relative safety. Now, the entire running pathway system along both rivers is quite different from before. There are still large areas where the path was just cut away and washed down the river. It still gives me chills to see it.

    I'm glad you're safe.

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  22. When I lived in New Mexico I had to evacuate with Los Alamos during the wildfires in 2000 and I lived in California during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. Stay safe!

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  23. I was living in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina and Rita. It's rough living for a couple weeks with no water or power. I guess you could get your rough water swim training in. :) Sorry, bad joke. Stay safe and good luck!

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  24. I've been listening to all of this on CNN and it's crazy that it's happening to YOU! I'm glad you're all safe. As for disasters, we've had our share of hurricanes and then two years ago there was a massive snowstorm in October and we lost power for over almost 2 weeks! My twins were 2 years old and it was freezing in our house. We had to drive to upstate NY and stay with my brother and his family. Four adults and 4 kids under the age of 4 in a house with one full bathroom. That was it's own natural disaster! Stay safe and dry!

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  25. I heard about this on the news! Yes, please be safe out there!

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  26. I've had to weather quite a few hurricanes, so I feel your pain on the flood. I hope it clears up soon!!

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  27. Wow those pictures are scary! Glad you and your family are safe. I live in Northern California so have been thru my fair share of earthquakes (Loma Prieta being the worst). Surprisingly earthquakes don't scare me as much as other disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes do.

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  28. I am so glad that you guys are safe :)

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  29. Glad you're safe...we're in Loveland and have a city cut in half as well. I hope we all dry out soon!

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  30. Glad you're safe. Also, glad if you had to be stuck somewhere it was with your parents (that would be my second choice, apart from home). I've never been through anything major - when the hurricane came up through the mid-Atlantic states in 2008 (I think it was Rita, but I can't remember) we had a lot of tree damage and lost power for days but no structural damage, thank goodness. (I found out I was pregnant with our 4th that very night...)

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  31. Glad that you're safe! I lived in Greece, too! Random. =)

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  32. Wow, that's terrible. We've been watching via news here in the Northeast, but it's obviously so different when you're in it. I'm glad you and your family are ok.

    Fortunately, no disasters here....(oh crap, it's Friday the 13th and I really just wrote that???)

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  33. Denver's ABC affiliate has a great list of ways to help flooding victims: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/colorado-flooding-how-you-can-help-red-cross-salvation-army-others-taking-donations

    I have a friend who just came off of a 35-hour long shift on an ambulance in Boulder, and another whose parents' basement is totally flooded- his sister & her 2-year old lived in the basement and they lost everything. So devestating! Praying for relief for you all!

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  34. I hope that you, your family, neighbors and friends have suffered minimally during this disaster. I can relate to your childhood experiences with an earthquake and forest fire in Greece. In October 1989, we survived the Loma Prieta Earthquake. It is the only time in my life that I actually thought I was going to die. 62 people did. Then, in October 1991, we survived the great Oakland Hills Fire. It was a different, more protracted ordeal, as we watched the flames come closer and closer all day long. Eventually, it stopped about a half-mile away from us. 25 people perished and 3,791 homes burned to the ground.

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  35. I lived through Hurricane Charley, the first to hit SW Florida in about 35+ years. No power for 2 weeks in August. Not fun.

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    1. My in-laws lived in Punta Gorda at the time and had a tough go with Hurricane Charley as well. That as a bad one.

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  36. Just remember flood water is full of sewerage, don't go swimming...

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  37. We're in Loveland, which was officially divided by the Big Thompson today. The break in the weather has helped, and hopefully the worst is over! Hope your whole family is safe, and has plenty of supplies to ride this out!

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  38. I've been watching the flooding on the weather channel. I am glad to hear your family is safe. The only disaster in Seattle was a big storm a few year back that cut power for like 8 days. I wanted to die!

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  39. I'm glad you're okay, Beth...been thinking about you and your family!!

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  40. be safe!! we've had that kind of flooding and fires. It's always so scary! makes you thankful for what you have, for sure

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  41. I live in Raleigh and we have occasional issues. Worst was Hurricane Fran. We were out of power for 8 days and were threatened with flood when they released the damn, We had some tree damage to the house but we all survived.
    We also had an ice storm that had us without power for 3 days.
    And the tornadoes that blew through Raleigh. Luckily we weren't in the line of that disaster!

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  42. I live in wv and we have floods and major power outages all the time. I actually just landed in Denver yesterday where we were delayed coming into due to the rain. Then drove to crested butte. Be safe! Floods are no joke.

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  43. Stay safe! Many a sudden storm has left me frantically circling the city, avoiding underpasses and unable to get off the interstate. knowing exits (and the areas surrounding my neighborhood) are all flooded. Once I drove around for 3 hours - but I was lucky. That same day my husband's car flooded while parked at church. No good deed goes unpunished...
    I imagine this will take awhile to dry up, since you probably don't have/need amazing drainage in your area, so don't park under trees for awhile (wet ground = loose roots).

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  44. My BIL works in Denver/lives in Johnstown & took him 8 hours to get home from work yesterday, crazy. Stay safe!

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  45. Oh wow! Your photos are incredible. My poor Colorado neighbors :(
    Stay safe and dry!

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  46. I saw a coyote on a run earlier this week also! That was a couple of days ago before my favorite training route was completely flooded along Ralston Creek. I am anxious to see it again when the water recedes, might be more of an adventure run than before. One drawback of running this week: now all my running shoes are damp and extremely stinky. I guess us Colorado folks are used to things drying out in a day or so. Not so much lately.

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  47. Our house almost burned down and our entire neighborhood was evacuated over Labor Day weekend two years ago due to wildfire. It seemed as if every town surrounding Austin, TX was on fire. We got (VERY) lucky, but many others did not. Tiny Bastrop, TX by far got the worst of it. I literally start to cry every time I think about it. We're still in an historic drought. PLEASE send some of that rain to Central Texas! AND STAY SAFE!!!!!!!!

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  48. I live in Nashville and in May 2010, the city experienced a "1000 year flood." It was awful and the national media ignored it for days. Citizens here took to Twitter and finally got Anderson Cooper's attention. He came and produced a special show called "Nashville Rising." If you want to read about how a city comes together, Google "We Are Nashville." It's an essay a blogger wrote that went viral. I have a feeling the good people in your area will pull together for each other just like we did here.
    FYI, hubs and I were supposed to vacation in Estes Park next week. That's cancelled of course, but our hearts are with the good people of Colorado.

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  49. Stay safe! My sister in Colorado Springs and my brother in Denver said it was pretty crazy!

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  50. we had a really bad storm last spring, we got 11 inches of rain in less than 12 hours.

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  51. Oh my gosh! That's crazy to see first hand pictures of. I'm glad you were able to get home and I hope no one gets injured from all of this. I hope it starts to clear up soon. Stay safe!

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  52. Are these rains due to Colorado's practice of cloud seeding?

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  53. So glad that you, your family and your home are safe! So scary!

    As far a natural disasters, I remember we had a flash flood go through our house when we lived in the Nevada desert when I was about 4. Then we lived a few hours away from Mt St Helen's when it blew in 1980. I've also been through countless earthquakes in California, fortunately nothing devastating. (The big one in the Bay Area in 1989 didn't affect us in So Cal but I remember I remember it pretty vividly.) And I almost got hit by a hurricane in North Carolina in 1993 but it turned and went north at the last minute so it ended up being pretty minor.

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  54. Twelve days without power last year during hurricane Sandy! I've been watching the floods in Colorado - We are praying for everyone. See, what they don't tell you on TV is what happens AFTER the natural disaster - like after flood waters recede - all the mess and clean-up that is left, and what it does financially to everyone's bottom line. Sending prayers!

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  55. Hurricane Katrina, Aug.29,2005, Category 3 storm with category 5 water damage..... I live on Mississippi Gulf Coast - we're still recovering here!

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  56. I lived through the flood of 82 in Salt Lake City. It didn't affect me too much, we had to sandbag by our house but no damage.

    I love the Police Scanner for iPad. Because I'm a nerd like that.
    Best wishes to all affected by the floods!

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  57. Wow! Glad you are safe and your parents were so close. Weather is so crazy sometimes. Amazed that your parents still had power with all of the flooding. Enjoy the downtime in your training schedule :)

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  58. Glad you and your family are okay. Thoughts and prayers with all those who are affected.

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  59. WHOA. Serious flooding....glad you figured out to bag it and go to your parents

    And that glad your house is safe.

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