Andrea's Corner: Rain..Rain..Go Away-Historic Colorado Floods

This month there has seen a catastrophic weather situation unfolding in Colorado, the as hasn’t occurred in approximately 100 years, some are calling it a 500 year flood. This is the result of a 14 year drought and 15 months of intense forest fires, something I learned this week, scorched ground can’t absorb water. I honestly did not know that. I am familiar with floods, having grown up in an area that is plagued by them periodically, I’ve lived within 10 miles of the Mississippi River most of my life. And I have lived through 2 floods, one when I was around 2 and another when I was around 6 or 7 and my Dad worked the great flood of 1993.He was in the Army Corp of Engineers and he was sent up North to St. Genevieve to try to reinforce levees and sandbag. My home town was hit again by severe flood in 2011, when levees had to be blown to relieve pressure to save one area, but sacrifice another. That was extremely hard to watch because I saw places that I grew up seeing, disappear under the water. And where I live now, has a flooding problem, not me myself because I live up on a bluff but about 6 miles from me, there’s a bluff that overlooks the bottoms that are level with the Mississippi River and I did a story for Yahoo! About the flooding and photographed the flooding, also in 2011.

Photo from NY Daily News

The river was more than 10 miles inland, violently churning about the bottom of Bald Knob Road. But the kind of flooding I am familiar with, isn’t quite the same as this situation. The kind of flooding I’m used to, is usually the Mississippi River out of its banks because of excessive rainfall way up north, or snows melting in the Spring time, inundating the river down South and causing it to go out of its banks and over levees. It’s a slow gradual thing, then overtaken by a sudden rush of flash flooding when it breaks through a levee. But this situation in Colorado is such that, there hasn’t been much rain in years, and they had a fire, that was set by an unknown idiot. Yes, I called them an idiot because who sets a fire when you haven’t had much rain for the better part of 14 years? Seriously. That’s just plain ole common sense. People with sense know if it hasn’t rained in a while, don’t set a fire where it can catch. So, no rain, a fire that has scorched the ground then, LOTS of rain. Usually when there’s been no rain for a while, getting rain is cause for a celebration but not this time, because between the drought and the scorched ground, the ground just could not absorb the water fast enough. Resulting in flash flooding that has killed at least 10 and displaced thousands, only 200 are still unaccounted for and they are hoping that they are just somewhere where there is no cell service or something. I hope so.

Photo from The Guardian

Damage is estimated at in the billions, with tourism possibly taking a hit, if tourist do not realize that there is still a large portion of Colorado completely untouched by the epic flooding and fires.

Another flooding situation that many do not know about, is the flooding on the Navajo Nation in Arizona affecting the towns of Chinle, Many Farms, Rock Point, Tselani/Cottonwood, Dennehotso and other towns in the area. They have now set up a shelter for those displaced by the flooding.They are under a flood induced state of emergency. The problem with Navajo Nation is the same in Colorado in that they have also been dealing with a drought that has made it to where the rain just will not absorb whatever. President Obama has signed an order back in March declaring it to be a disaster situation and they will be receiving assistance from FEMA, which as Native American Nation, is not something that normally happens, they are the 2nd tribe to ever have that done. In March it was because of a long hard freeze, now they are faced with drought and now flash flooding. They are requesting assistance and are needing volunteers to help with the emergency situation.

Photo from Live Science

The residents of Chinle and others nearby are starting to return to their homes, they had been put up in hotels at the Navajo Nations expense. However Chinle has been hardest hit because it sits at the bottom of a mountain, so whatever runs off the mountain makes it way there, and the roads in the Navajo Nation are easily washed away due to the fact that they are dirt roads. But thus far, as of right now there have been no fatalities and there are no injuries, however there are still people needing to be rescued.

Andrea McGhee

Lead Blogger Mr Twister