Minot, N.D., July 26, 2011 -- A contractor removes debris from a storm drain during a rain storm in a Minot neighborhood. North Dakota, Montana and Utah are still seeing high water levels, as frequent heavy rain storms historically affect Colorado this time of year.
July is known for hot summer days, barbeques and picnics and outdoor activities with friends and family.
It also can be known as the monsoonal flow season in Colorado. It is the time of the summer where you can almost time those afternoon thunderstorms and showers rolling across the state. Recently Colorado has been experiencing strong thunderstorms laced with heavy rains, and strong lightning. These storms also bring localized street flooding and are a reminder to all in Colorado that flooding can happen very quickly.
Some of Colorado's costliest and deadliest disasters have happened during the last week of July and were flooding related. On July 31, it will have been 35 years since the "Big Thompson" flood. Tragically, 144 people died that day as a result of the flood – both Colorado residents as well as visitors to the state. A total of 418 homes were destroyed. Twenty-one years later, another devastating flood occurred in Colorado - this time in Ft. Collins. On July 27-28, 1997, 14.5 inches of heavy rain fell in 31 hours, resulting in five deaths in Spring Creek.
Colorado isn’t the only state in Region VIII to experience heavy monsoonal rains and flooding during the month of July. Last week we saw loss of life in Wyoming due to flooding, North and South Dakota have had flood warnings, and we continue to see high water in North Dakota, Montana and Utah. The flood danger in Region VIII is not over.
As citizens, we can't predict or change the weather patterns that bring flooding. However, we can be prepared and be aware of our surroundings. Stay connected to news sources that will alert you to dangerous weather conditions. If you are in an area prone to flash flooding (low-lying, or next to a stream/river or drain), be aware that skies could be clear overhead, but heavy rains 20 miles away could be headed downstream and in your direction.
Valuable information on preparedness for all disaster types including flooding can be found at www.Ready.gov. Key preparedness strategies include:
- Having a preparedness plan and kit,
- Making sure everyone in your household knows the plan,
- Following the instructions of local officials, evacuate if told to do so,
- Avoiding moving water when you’re walking or driving and remember that flash floods are appropriately named since they can happen in a flash.
As we approach the midpoint of summer, continue enjoying the outdoors, time with friends and family, and all that our states have to offer. We can honor those who have lost their lives due to flooding by preparing ourselves and our loved ones for the potential of dangerous weather.
Editor’s Note – Read some of Robin’s other blog posts:
- Midwest and Upper Midwest Flood Fight Continues – Our Role
- Floodwaters Swamp Minot, But Don’t Dampen Resolve in the “Magic City”