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Dispatch: The Boulder Flood

  • By Holly Bennett
  • Published Sep 12, 2013

Triathlete Editor-at-Large Holly Bennett takes a break from her traditional weekly “Dispatch” column to discuss the flooding that is affecting the Boulder area.

Beginning yesterday evening a slew of emergency flood warnings blared over my cell phone. The rain was coming down hard all over Boulder County, and it seemed everywhere was in danger of flooding. Throughout the night conditions worsened and many areas experienced evacuations, road closures and devastating landslides. Three fatalities have been reported and many people remain isolated in towns that have been cut off due to flooded or washed out roads.

I live in Lafayette, 15 miles outside of Boulder, in an area that is on the flood warning watch list (the emergency warnings keep coming). I awoke to images of a bridge near my home that was washed away, with two cars plunged into the river below (fortunately emergency crews were on hand almost immediately and the drivers and passengers were all rescued). I’m safe in my third-floor apartment, but from my window I look out onto Coal Creek–a normally small and gentle waterway bordered by a beautiful running trail­­–and can see that it’s completely overflowed its banks and the trail is obliterated. Earlier today I walked my stir-crazy dog near the trailhead–now completely submerged under water–and shot the images you see here.

I spoke with local pro Chris Legh and his wife Sarah, who live just north of Boulder in Lyons. The town of Lyons is one of the areas being hardest hit by the storm–all access in and out of town is suspended, low-lying areas are thoroughly flooded and last night residents received reverse-911 calls to evacuate. The Leghs live high atop a hill and thus remain safe at home–and are harboring nearby friends and neighbors from the storm. Sarah was busy boiling water when we spoke, as a nearby sewage treatment plant was affected and thus Lyons’ tap water has been determined unfit for consumption. Chris made a trek into town to survey the damage and reported seeing everything from pieces of houses to a washing machine being swept through the street-turned-river downtown. (You can watch his videos here and here.)

The rain continues to come down intermittently and is expected to continue on and off throughout the day and tonight. Everyone at Triathlete is holding residents of the Boulder area–the beloved training ground of numerous top triathletes–in our hearts.

 More “Dispatch” from Holly Bennett.

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