Flooding

Standing next to his mud-splattered red pickup in Central Arkansas, a tired Robert Stobaugh watches an osprey soar over a field of flooded rice. If anything can survive flooding, he says, it's rice.

"But even rice doesn't like this," he says, looking at the swamp of rust-brown water in front of him.

The Missouri River swamped Scott Olson’s land in March — the second time in the last eight years. Flooding tore holes in his fields and left mounds of debris. He’s not entirely sure he’ll plant corn and soybeans this season on the flooded acres.

Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park / Facebook

The federal government hasn't funded $20 million in work to fix roads damaged by flooding in Larimer County nearly six years ago.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reports that a 2018 law that changed how the Federal Emergency Management Agency awards money for projects that don't meet strict design guidelines, like those in Larimer County's Big Thompson Canyon, was supposed to help speed up funding. However, FEMA hasn't given its regional offices guidance on how to award money under it.

Farmers along the Missouri River and its tributaries are still assessing damage from recent flooding.

But beyond the farms in parts of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas, there’s visible evidence that the impacts are far-reaching and long-lasting — closed interstates and rerouted trains — key cogs in a global agriculture economy.

Erin O'Toole / KUNC

In September 2013, four days of torrential rainfall devastated parts of Colorado’s Front Range, killing nine people and damaging or destroying around 1,800 homes. A number of roads were washed out by floodwaters, stranding thousands of people who had to be helicoptered to safety.

Matt Bloom/KUNC

In September 2013, historic flooding fundamentally changed Jamestown, Colorado. Landslides triggered by massive rains destroyed homes, buried the town’s fire station and left one resident dead.

What happened next was what some call the most ambitious recovery project in the town’s history. The effort is finally wrapping up this fall, leaving residents with a big question: Where do they go from here?

Luke Runyon / KUNC

Five years ago flood waters caused immense damage along Colorado’s northern Front Range and foothills, killing nine people, upending the lives of thousands of others. And just as the raging water left a lasting imprint in the minds of those who lived through it, it did the same to the land itself.

During four days of rain, and weeks of receding, rivers altered course, reservoirs filled with sediment, and soil slipped down hillslopes, ending up as sand bars and log jams downstream. The change was so abrupt and sudden maps had to be redrawn.

John Weaver / Poudre Fire Authority

On July 28, 1997, Chris Wolf was one of two officers on duty with the campus police at Colorado State University. It was summer, and the campus was gearing up for the fall semester. Wolf was eating pizza for dinner at a local restaurant with another officer when the rain began.

“And I said something like, ‘Boy, it sure is raining hard,’ never realizing what the next several hours would bring,” he said.

Colorado's History Of July Floods Isn't A Coincidence

Jul 24, 2017
Courtesy of Jason Pohl/The Coloradoan

The last week of July has seen two of the most severe floods in Colorado’s history - and that’s not a coincidence.

Both floods began at night and both had devastating consequences. On July 28, 1997, the heaviest rain ever recorded in an urban area of the state caused millions of dollars of damage to areas of Fort Collins and killed five people. What became known as the Spring Creek Flood came two days short of the anniversary of the Big Thompson Flood of 1976, when at least 12 inches of rain fell over four hours in the mountains below Estes Park. In the subsequent flooding 143 people died.

Highest January Snowpack For Colorado In Three Years

Jan 14, 2017
SNOWTEL / Natural Resources Conservation Service

After a very dry fall, Colorado’s snowpack has bounced back. Statewide, the snowpack is at almost 160 percent of normal, with the state’s historically snowiest months still to come.

“To have our snowpack where it is right now for the state is a really good position to be in going forward for water supplies into the spring and summer,” said Brian Domonkos, Colorado snow survey supervisor and hydrologist.

The good news extends to cities and reservoirs downstream of Colorado, like Lake Mead in Nevada which has experienced record lows.

Pages