Rampaging floodwater gouged 200 miles of Colorado roads and damaged or tore away 50 bridges. The estimated tab for that infrastructure alone is $430 million. In light of redrawn river beds and floodplains, how should Colorado look to recover?
The Colorado floods are leading to a massive rebuilding effort, but with winter closing in, the question is whether the state can wait to rebuild better and smarter, or whether it must simply move fast.
The heavy floodwaters in Colorado this month caused more than 37,000 gallons of oil to spill into or near rivers, and the state's oil and gas industry is rushing to fix equipment damaged during the storm. It comes at a time when there's growing public concern about the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state.
The flood damage in Colorado is immense, reaching beyond homes and small businesses. The raging rivers also spilled into low-lying farm and ranchland, wrecking costly equipment and stranding livestock.
There has been a lot of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere this year, including the recent torrential rains in Colorado, flooding in Europe, bitter cold in Florida and a heat wave in Alaska. And scientists say all of it is related to some odd behavior by the powerful air currents called the polar jet stream.