Six months ago today significant rains started falling and with little or no warning a flash flood developed; rapidly becoming a powerful force of nature. It persisted for almost a week, and the impacts for much longer. The Coal Creek Canyon community came together to overcome this natural disaster, and in many ways we’ve grown together through that adversity. Within only six months much has returned to normalcy.

Coal Creek Flood of 2013

Coal Creek Flood of 2013

Unfortunately for a number of Canyonites the flood is not a receding memory. Homes are still affected, property and access still impacted, and expenses/costs still mounting (both financially and emotionally.) Further, there are chances that the impacts from the flood are not over for them or for any of us…

Flood waters caused erosion and cleared gullies into channels; there is less to hold water back in the mountains, less to slow it down, and more to allow it to channel and accumulate. How things will unfold during this first spring runoff since the flood reshaped the Canyon is unknown. There is risk of flooding over the next few month; as the snows disappear, the ground frost recedes, and then later the ground waters build.  (The significant work done to clear debris from the Coal Creek “stream bed” is in preparation of unpredictable future water flows.)

Also, erosion has dislodged debris, including trees, mud and rocks on the hillsides. The annual thaw is known to dislodge rocks, that can fall onto roads, so please be especially vigilant as you travel this spring. One Canyonite has already reported a collision with a falling rock that smashed their vehicle’s passenger side window.

Please keep aware of the changed situation, and the new normal. Watch for rocks on roads, and other hazards, especially considering the newly exposed deeper trench and steeper sides of Coal Creek. Please drive carefully.

As the beauty of spring replaces the beauty of winter in our glorious canyon … enjoy our home but please remember to recognize the natural forces we live amongst.


Update:  In an effort to inform residents about the risks associated with the upcoming post-flood spring runoff, Boulder County is hosting Spring Runoff & Community Preparedness Meetings.

Who: South Boulder Creek/Boulder Creek/Coal Creek
When: March 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St., Boulder