On Sept. 13, after 2 days of 10 to 16 inches of rain being dumped on the front range in the northern half of Colorado, many towns were flooded, including Lyons, Boulder, Longmont, Loveland, and Estes Park.
There were lives lost and homes either badly damaged or lost completely. The water came up fast. Highway 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon had 18 miles simply wash away completely, and 85 percent of the road is a total loss.
On the other side of Estes Park going toward Boulder, Highway 36 had sections washed away and people stranded on the mountain. The only way to and from Estes Park was Trail Ridge Road – a 6-hour drive from the Boulder/Denver area.
The Upper Thompson Sanitation District had the sewage system in town out, the lakes were overflowing, and all stores in town were flooded. Damage estimate for Estes is $40 million. Estes Park is a tourist town, and their livelihood depends on that.
Now the president has closed Rocky Mountain National Park, and that’s hurting the economy. The flood is being called the 500-year or 1,000-year flood. It’s the worst in their history. We lived in Estes Park 40 years ago.
A fund has been opened at Sauk Valley Bank and Trust to help those who have lost so much. If you’d like to help flood victims in the Estes and Big Thompson area, please send a check to the bank or to New Life Lutheran Church in Sterling.
The money will be sent to the Lutheran Church in Estes, which will be responsible for giving to those that need the most help.
If you’d like to see pictures of the Estes Park area, go to the Estes Park Trail Gazette site at www.eptrail.com. There had not been a lot of pictures of the Big Thompson as most of it has not been passable.