Monday, September 16, 2013

The Colorado Flood...and a Reminder About How Stephen King Dies

I got a text at 4:40 am. My phone was off, but vibrating, and somehow it woke me up. Good thing. It was the school district letting us know that “due to deteriorating conditions throughout the district and the continued rain and flooding, school will be closed today, Thursday, September 12th.” Hmm, that's weird, we've never had a rain day. I went and turned off alarms, informed (ecstatic!) children of the news, and went back to bed.

When I later watched the news, I saw what all the fuss was all about. The mountain town, Lyons, which is 10 miles west of here and at a higher elevation, had been all but destroyed. The main highway through town and continuing up to Estes Park, had been washed away in several places, and the small, picturesque tourist town's main street (and all of it's cute shops) was under five feet of water. Estes Park was cut off from the world (as was Lyons) and they were airlifting people out. We know many people who live in those towns. It was overwhelming.

Boulder, which is about 10 miles southwest of here, had also experienced flash flooding and several areas of the University of Colorado had been evacuated, and won't be inhabitable the rest of the semester. Several apartment complexes suffered a similar fate. All the major roads in and out were closing as the water rose. The Engineer works in Boulder.

He called me, saying he'd been turned around at the river on two of the main N-S streets through town, (and we knew Main Street was already closed) so maybe he'd just go back to work and wait it out since we live on the other side of the river. I told him he HAD to keep trying to get home. I'd been watching the news. He had not. His cell phone battery was dying. Traffic was horrible. Conditions were changing rapidly. I tried not to freak out. You know me, that didn't work so well.

I'm going to pause the tragedy for some levity. Some of you know that we get teased about our zombie apocalypse preparations. The Engineer has solar panels and a LOT of big, deep cycle batteries, and inverters, and a mostly finished electric car he built himself out of an old Toyota. We can run off grid for a while. We garden, he hunts, we buy in bulk, ridiculous amounts of bulk. We probably have enough food for several families. (And of course toilet paper...)

However, none of the scenarios we had prepared for (and no, we're not those crazy “Doomsday Preppers” we're just an inventor engineer and his along-for-the-ride wife) had included The Engineer NOT BEING HOME. My sister-in-law teased me later (after offering me her kayaks) that she had to run the generator at their house once, but at least she had a manual. Did The Engineer write manuals for his inventions? Um, that would be NO.

Three and a half hours later The Engineer arrives home safely. He had to take quite the circuitous route and sit in a lot of traffic, but he made it.  I relaxed a bit.

The rain continued. They closed schools another day. We all began to realize the magnitude of what was happening as we watched videos and the news and read the on-line version of the paper. Road closures were updated at a ridiculous rate.

Our town was cut in half by the river, and everyone had to stay on his or her side, and HOME. No non-essential travel. I-25 was now closed. Neighborhoods evacuated, one of them 1.5 miles from here, but that at the bottom of a 1.5 mile high hill. We were safe. My friend's parents' house was flooded.

There's so much more to tell. The kindness of strangers, the overwhelming donations to the evac centers, the neighbors helping neighbors so that both houses could be saved, the miracle rescues, the unbelievable tragedy of a whole town washed away. I'm almost numb. We are safe, high, and dry, but so many friends and acquaintances are not and have lost so much. Schools are closed until the earliest return day of Thursday. The rain continues, off and on, and the clean-up will take months.

They're calling it a 500 year flood. As many people have been airlifted out as during Katrina. Almost 800 are unaccounted four. Many have died (no firm numbers as of right now). Please pray for Colorado.


~Tina


Meanwhile, just a reminder, cuz I keep my promises:

THANKS to everyone who read and participated in Day One of the Temporary Anne blog tour!  The story This Is How I... continues on Andrew Leon's blog, "Strange Pegs."  Click here to go read that post and help decide what happens when the Beast looks at me..  


If you didn't already get it, "Temporary Anne" is free again today, so click this link to download this excellent horror story. 

16 comments:

Suzanne Furness said...

I'm sorry to hear about the floods, hope you dry out soon and without too much damage.

DAVID WALSTON said...

Sleep well, and stay dry.

Brian Miller said...

well i am glad you are ok...ack, hope it continues to stay that way...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad your family is safe. LG posted pictures - it's almost overwhelming.

Jo said...

Glad you are safe in your neck of the woods, hope you stay that way. I have been horrified at all the pictures, I feel so sorry seeing all the cows and horses as well as the pets. They can't possibly understand what is happening to them. Today we hear there are over 1,000 people missing. Its a horrible situation.

JoJo said...

I continue to hope that the rains and water subside out there. One of my high school friends has lost his 5th wheel RV and everything in it, plus a storage locker has been completely flooded. He lives in Chicago but he works a lot in the CO area.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

May you all stay safe. The flooding is terrible.

Andrew Leon said...

No leaky roofs, right?

Jeremy [Retro] said...

sending out the happy thoughts.. and a virtual raft for you and the family.

Hart Johnson said...

Holy cow--HUGE stuff! I'm glad the engineer figured out a way to get home! That is my greatest fear, though usually it is ME who is gone, but disaster separated from my family. There was a tornado several years back when the kids were at school, hubby at home and me at work--talk about panic. Love your emergency prep stuff!

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

Oh no! Sending so many thoughts and prayers your way.

Milo James Fowler said...

Glad you're safe -- holy cow, that's a real disaster zone.

Michelle Wallace said...

This is terrible!
It's good to know that you and your loved ones are safe.
I'm sending a boost of positivity across the globe------
Take care Tina.
Writer In Transit

Crystal Collier said...

Hey, as long as you had toilet paper...

Tragedy is a two-edged sword, isn't it? On the one hand, it's so awful when people lose so much. On the other hand, seeing the incredible outpouring of love? Awe inspiring.

Lisa said...

Glad you're all OK!! Thoughts & prayers going out for all in Colorado!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm glad you made it through relatively unscathed. For those of us who make it through these major emergencies okay, I think it's a wake up call. As prepared as we thought we were, we still have some work to do. I'm so sad about Lyons and Estes Park. I have friends in Boulder and parts of Denver that were affected, and just waiting to hear they were okay was rough. We have flood insurance due to proximity to the burn scar, but most people in Colorado don't have it. I mean, floods!? Historically, we know they exist, but it seems so far off when you're in constant drought. One terrible thing is that none of these people have flood insurance, and I have no idea how they're supposed to rebuild or move on in any way without that. It makes me just sick for them. I'm hoping they continue finding those reported as missing alive and well. The numbers on this flooding are staggering all around.

I could go on and on, as I'm sure you can imagine, but I'll stop here.

~Shannon