I'm not sure if you've heard or not, but Colorado seems to have made Mother Nature a little mad. It started raining last week and it hasn't really stopped yet. Within 36 hours, we'd received a year's worth of precipitation. If you want to translate that to snow, it equals about 12 feet of snow. That's a lot of moisture, in a short amount of time.
The whole state has flooded. Not just one area, but everywhere. I have friends and family that had to be evacuated, they closed a major interstate ALL day Thursday, they've closed schools, called in national guards, its been declared a national disaster, and rivals Hurricane Katrina for number of rescues by aircraft. Here are the latest numbers per a local news station: 17,494 homes damaged, 1,502 homes destroyed, 11,700 people evacuated, 1,253 people unaccounted for, and 26 shelters open.
Unfortunately this doesn't include miles of highway and roads that have been destroyed. Jon has worked 41 hours of overtime (in addition to his regularly scheduled hours) in 3 days. His road has washed away in spots, and he has yet to survey the full damage. We were on our way to church when he was called in to join the assessment team. I groaned, knowing what that cell phone ring meant. Even more frustrating was that the assessment ended up being postponed due to the fact that it started raining. Again.
I grew up learning about the Big Thompson Flood of 1976. We grew quite familiar with the white signs peppered throughout the canyon reading: "In Case of Flood, Climb to Safety." Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I'd see a flood that would surpass that flood. Highway 34, leading up to Estes Park, is gone. Completely demolished. The bridge that we cross to get to the family cabin is gone. I don't imagine we'll be getting up there any time soon.
This has been a surreal experience! Watching flood waters overtake areas where I've grown up and memories made. Trying to navigate through my hometown like a maze, as each street came to a dead end because of high water. Its inconceivable to think that our beloved little town of Estes Park is completely isolated from the world, as every road in is damaged. I've been without internet service for days (thank goodness for smart phones and blogging apps), but I refuse to complain. Its nothing in the grand scheme of things. Towns are gone, loved ones are missing, power is down, water treatment plants compromised (my sister is one who is under a "boiling water" restriction), etc. Internet service is nothing.
Pray for Colorado. We are a strong state, having survived floods in the past and fires in the present. But I don't think we can wrap our minds around the extent of the damage, or the amount of time it'll take to rebuild. Pray for the families who have loved ones missing. Pray for the rescue workers and the emergency responders. Pray for those who no longer have homes. Pray for the... well... just pray. We're gonna need them in the weeks, months, and years ahead.