16 September 2013

Colorado Flooding

Last week, rain started along the front range of Colorado and didn't stop for four days. An unbelievable amount of damage has been done in all the cities along the eastern edge of the Rockies--all in areas I consider home. As I have written about many of the roads in this areas and a brew pub or two, I wanted to share news of the flooding and damage.

The photo above is of Left Hand Canyon. A lot of roads in the foothills have suffered this type of damage as rivers and creeks have swelled and eaten up the asphalt. As it turns out, Mother Nature will always win. The picture below is of the Big Thompson River, showing two different years of flooding. This is one of my favorite roads to ride and I've done it multiple times in each direction. It cuts through the canyon between Estes Park and Loveland, and I recently read that more than 17 miles of the road has been destroyed. My friend and her four neighbors discovered, thankfully, that their properties are just high enough that the homes were spared, as was the bridge needed to access them. Many homes and properties did not fare so well.

The St. Vrain River has well overflowed its banks, severely affecting Lyons and Longmont. If you've read many of my posts, you will know that these two places are close to my heart, as they have my two favorite breweries, and a whole bunch of good people I like to visit with and share a pint. It looks like minimal damage has been done to both Left Hand Brewery in Longmont and Oskar Blues in both Lyons and Longmont. Oskar Blues believes their brew pub in Lyons is on high enough ground that it was not damaged, but as they cannot get back into the city, they won't know for sure what condition it is in for a little while yet. Their restaurant in Longmont shut its doors to the public and has been using the facility as a commissary to make food for local shelters. These are good people, so please show support for them and buy their beer--it's showing up in more and more cities across the U.S.

Left Hand Brewery has been under evacuation for several days. The river flooded the loading dock and broke a gate, letting water into the brew house, but not doing a lot of damage. Staff used bags of malt (hey, you use what you've got) to block the door to the taproom, and that effectively kept water out. Electricity has been off so they are worried about beer that is in process, but relatively speaking, they were pretty lucky. The brewery has an Oktoberfest event next weekend that they are turning into a relief effort to raise money for the community. Again, good beer and great people!

The picture of the entrance to the YMCA of the Rockies is typical of what has been shown on and in the news. The ground couldn't take anymore, and neither could rivers and reservoirs. Crop fields, roads and homes are under water. The amazing thing that has come out of this, as I have witnessed when I've been in other areas of wide spread natural disaster damage (stupid hurricanes and earthquakes!) is the coming together of the community to help out those who need assistance. People step up to the challenge to make things better. It's going to be a long road for the front range, but Coloradans are strong and will pull through just fine.


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