When the many days worth of relentless heavy rainfall finally came to an end Monday, Colorado evacuees returned to heir homes and businesses to find unbelievable devastation. Some homes were left hanging off cliffs, others were completely destroyed and scores of small businesses were swamped with sand-filled cement-like floodwater that covered everything. The look of shock and sadness could be seen on the faces of those people finally allowed to go back into some flooded areas as they are left grappling with how they’re going to go about rebuilding their lives that will most likely take months to do.
According to state officials, at least eight people are confirmed dead due to flooding and over 600 more and listed as “unaccounted for”. The clear skies on Monday allowed rescue workers to resume helping stranded residents as nearly two dozen helicopters took to the skies to pluck people from their homes that were completely cut off due to entire roadways being washed away.
Residents and business owners in the Front Range area of Colorado quickly got busy sweeping, shoveling and rinsing although the rebuilding work was simply overwhelming for most. It was reported by state officials Monday that an unbelievable 19,000 homes in northern Colorado were either damaged or destroyed by the historic flooding.
Small business owners who were allowed to return to their businesses on Monday found inventory, documents and computers ruined by dirty flood water that had inundated their premises. Some stores and gas stations attempting to reopen their doors were very low on supplies as washed out roads and evacuation orders have stopped delivery by truck. Hardware stores from Fort Collins to Boulder were trying to clean up from the flooding as customers came in looking for tools and necessities.
In Lyons, about fifteen minutes from Boulder, the entire community was all but cut off from the rest of civilization due to massive flooding that took out roadways and bridges. The National Guard helped evacuate the entire town on Friday. On Thursday, Highway 66 that runs through Lyons was looking like any other typical small town main street. However, by Saturday, a raging river replaced Hwy 66, creating a scene reminiscent of an end-of-the-world feature film.
Over the past day and a half, Colorado has been slammed with heavy rainfall. The adverse weather conditions have been so bad that people are being prompted to evacuate if they live in low-lying area. These heavy rains have left two people dead, as well as triggering mudslides. Erie County has been hit the hardest, and it seems as though the rain is not letting up much. Many parts of Colorado have experienced at least 4 inches of rain since noon on Wednesday. The National Weather Service has even issued a flash flood warning in effect for Boulder and Jefferson Counties until further notice. A mandatory evacuation is also in effect for small communities like Jamestown and Fourmile.
Any residents living near a creek or stream are also being asked to evacuate, and students at the nearby University are also being evacuated. Libraries, recreation centers, and even businesses have closed their doors due to the heavy rainfall and dangerous conditions. The Weather Service has reported that local officials said even homes have been collapsing due to the heavy rainfall and conditions. Rescue teams have also not been able to get to the scene of any of the damage because the mudslides are prohibiting them from getting to that area.
There have only been two deaths that have been reported thus far, but students of the University of Colorado have been evacuated and classes cancelled so there are no risks of injuries. In addition to the two counties that have flood emergencies, flash flood warnings have been posted for Broomfield, Adams, Weld, Larimer, and El Paso counties. Mud and rockslides have been reported in many areas, and Boulder Canyon, U.S 6, and other roads have been experiencing blockages due to the dangerous conditions.
Cars are submerged underwater, basements are flooding, and homes are collapsing. Local officials are reporting that many roads are impassable due to how much rain has built up over time. Officials are also saying that it is best to evacuate if you live near a creek or waterway, and if possible, stay inside and do not leave your home if it is not in a low-lying area. As the conditions worsened Wednesday evening, Erie County was hit the hardest. It is very important to stay updated with the conditions and not to try to pass roads that are covered by water. It is also a good idea to always have an emergency kit ready for these types of situations.
Many homeowners don’t bother to learn much about the plumbing systems in their homes because they know they can call a plumbing professional to come help them repair. This is not necessarily a good thing though, because every homeowner should have a general understanding of the plumbing systems in their home and how they work. Here are a few tips to help you learn about your plumbing system and know when something is wrong before it escalates to something worse.
– Know where your main water shut off is located, and keep it accessible at all times. It is a good idea to close and open it a couple times a year to keep it in good working order. (Remember to always have the faucet running while you do this).
– Listen to your water heater. When a gas heater starts to crackle and pop, this is a sign of scale build up. When there is scale build up, it will decrease the efficiency of the water heater and will decrease the amount of hot water you are receiving.
– Watch for “ripples” in the water. If you ever see ripples of water running down the sides of your toilet bowl or constant water going throughout the bowl you are obviously losing water, and that means that your money is just going down the drain
– A small drip from the faucet can be fixed easily and inexpensively. If you do nothing about the leak when you spot it, it will be more costly to fix in the long run, and you may need to hire a plumber to come fix it.
– Buy a shop (wet dry) vacuum. This is one of the best tools you can have. It is a great tool for water cleanup, drain cleaning, tub cleaning, etc.
– Try to avoid buying items that are a “universal fit”. When those words are included on a product, it usually means that the product will work poorly in a plumbing situation.
– When it becomes cold outside, disconnect all hoses from the outside faucets. Keeping them connected can lead to frozen hoses and pipes during the winter, and this can become costly if a plumber is not called in time.
These are just a couple tips to help you learn about your plumbing systems and how to know when something is out of the ordinary. When you have excessive damage to any of your plumbing systems, it is always a good idea to call in a professional to help you repair these issues.