Loveland Flooding Eases as Community Cleans Up
Kristen M. Foster
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As rescuers work across Colorado to recover those stranded and missing, the residents of Larimer County worked to repair homes and businesses, as Associated Press reports. Initial damage numbers reported list 1,500 homes destroyed and about 17,500 damaged, according to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management. County officials have started to whittle down the 1,200 reported missing in the state, having made contact with hundreds of residents who had not yet been located. The death toll across the state is currently at four confirmed deaths and two missing and presumed dead.
The Loveland Disaster Recovery Center opened this morning to take in donations for flood evacuee use. Donors were asked to provide a limited selection of items: non-perishable foods, toiletries, gift cards, bottled water and sports drinks. The Center is located at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology.
Communities are coming out in support of each other, to help with cleanup efforts. According to the Denver Post, volunteers at Gateway Baptist Church were cleaning instead of worshiping Sunday morning and offers came in from Little Bear Cleaning and Baker Snow Removal to help the congregation. Friends, employees and family of Scott Moore piled in to clean his Master Craft Dental Lab and the camaraderie carried itself around the office park in which Moore’s Lab is located. Moore said, “My goal is to start production tomorrow… I have to get people their teeth.”
City authorities advise conserving water and turning off irrigation systems though Loveland itself is not under boiling restrictions for contaminated water supplies.
Rescuers are even finding themselves stranded in the adverse conditions. Sunday, six National Guardsmen and nine first responders on search-and-rescue efforts, were stranded in Lyons due to renewed flooding. While they worked on getting themselves out, they continued to check for victims of the floods.
The Rocky Mountain National Park gateway community of Estes Park today found itself compared to two historic flash floods that killed just under 150 people combined: Big Thompson Canyon Flood (1976) and Lawn Lake Flood (1982). Vacation cottages were washed down the river, roads washed away, towns pummeled into nothingness and major infrastructure damage was sustained. Hundreds of homes in Estes Park itself may be uninhabitable for almost a year with gas line and sewer system damage. Though Estes Park’s town administrator Frank Lancaster lamented that this last week’s damage was worse than the previous two floods, at least there is no apparent loss of life. “We know there are a lot of people trapped, but they are trapped alive,” he said while at a Red Cross evacuation shelter.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, best known for inspiring Stephen King’s The Shining, suffered water damage to its foundations because of ground saturation.
Larimer County is situated along the northern Colorado border with Wyoming, between the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the beginning of the eastern plains of the state.[Image and video via YouTube.]