Flood Debris Along Boulder Creek, Colorado

September 18, 2013


Photographer: Bonnie Sizer; Bonnie's Web site
Summary Authors: Bonnie Sizer; Jim Foster

The photo above shows knee-deep mud and debris clogging a pedestrian underpass near the flooded Boulder Creek, Colorado. It was taken on September 14, 2013, a day after record 100-year flooding (greater than this in some jurisdictions) devastated portions of Boulder, Colorado and towns along the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Between September 9 and 15, 18 in (450 mm) of rainfall was measured at some locales. As of September 16, there were 7 confirmed deaths, more than 1,250 people missing and approximately 11,750 forced evacuations in the Boulder area. Fifteen counties in Colorado have been declared disaster areas.

Boulder has long been recognized as a city with a very high flood potential. The geography of the Front Range and Boulder Creek Canyon sets up Boulder as well as communities along other streams empting onto the high plains, for flash flooding, especially when weather systems stall.

Never have I seen so much heavy rain for so long a period of time. Though my house escaped with only a bit of water in the basement, many homes were washed away completely, or 5-days later were still totally isolated by flood waters. The last flood of similar magnitude in Boulder occurred in 1894.

Photo details: NIKON D5100 camera; 18.0-55.0 mm lens; f/3.5-5.6; 18mm focal length; f/4.0 aperture; 1/60 sec. exposure; ISO 560; Adobe Photoshop CS6 software.