September 2013 Colorado flood: Significant storms in Colorado history

7:51 PM, Sep 18, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - The deadly flash floods that stormed through Colorado on Sept. 12, 2013 will go down in the history books for various reasons. But how does this storm stack up against the history books?

1864 - To flip through time, a thunderstorm in the Poudre Canyon caused the snowpack to melt quickly. A 20-foot wall of water flooded the town of LaPorte. Livestock and buildings were washed away in an instant.

1891 - In June 1891, the Chambers Lake Dam failed and the bridges over the Poudre Canyon washed out all the way up to Fort Collins.

1902 - A September storm clobbered the Colorado State University campus, dropping more than 6 inches of rain. The Fossil Creek Reservoir rose nearly 20 feet during the thunderstorm.

1904 - Historians argue this was the most damaging Poudre River flood. Snowmelt cascaded down into Fort Collins. Hundreds of homes were destroyed. Two people died.

1912 - On a Sunday afternoon in July, torrential rains flooded the Cherry Creek drainage basin in Castle Rock and Denver. The South Platte rose about 3 feet in less than an hour. By nightfall, Cherry Creek was overflowing and spilling just north of Welton Street. Damage was estimated around $500,000 to $1 million.

1938 - What practically ended the Dust Bowl in Fort Collins was when the Foothills received nearly 8 inches of rain. CSU buildings flooded during the storm.

1948 - Golden is not immune to flooding. That June, a 25-foot wall of water flooded down Tucker Gulch in northern Golden. No one was killed or seriously injured, however many basements were flooded. Estimated damage was around $500,000.

1951 - CSU was inundated again when a two-day storm which dumped more than 6 inches of rain in a little over a day.

1965 (June) - The damaging floods of the June storm in the Denver metro area happened after heavy rainfall filled the South Platte River Basin. Reports of a 15-foot-high wall of water flew down the river. The soil was already saturated from previous storms, so the floodwaters had nowhere to flow. The estimated cost of damage was around $540 million and 28 people died in the flooding.

1965 (July) - Just a month later, heavy rainfall pelted Tucker Gulch in Golden. Floodwaters filled 17 blocks and the storm cost around $112,000.

1976 - The Big Thompson Canyon Flood happened in late July after a thunderstorm refused to move from the area - dumping more than a foot of rain in less than five hours. Recordkeepers say it is one of the deadliest freshwater floods in US history. In less than two hours, 570 structures were destroyed and 145 people lost their lives. The flood cost around $40 million.

1977 - In July, the second-largest, one-day storm on record hit Fort Collins. It hit the Adriel Hills area hard. Basements were flooded with water throughout the city.

1992 - The downtown business district in Fort Collins was damaged due to a flash flood hitting in June. Hail and lightning also damaged the area.

1999 - The Poudre River banks eroded significantly after runoff flooded the area.


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