Colorado, and especially Boulder, Colo., has a history of flash floods. In 2004, the University of Colorado's Natural Hazards Center listed a flash flood in Boulder as one of six "disasters waiting to happen" in the United States.
(AP Photo/Earth Vision Trust, Matthew Kennedy)
The torrential rains and walls of water that rushed through stream channels caught many Coloradoans by surprise this week, but disaster scenarios have long foretold the fatal flash floods that tore through Colorado's foothills.
"We knew this kind of rain was possible," said Matt Klesch, a hydrometeorologist at the University Corporation for Academic Research (UCAR), based in Boulder, Colo. This week, Boulder set a record for its wettest 24-hour period, with 7.21 inches (18.3 centimeters) of rain from 6 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 11) to Thursday, and more than 12 inches (30 cm) in total from Monday to Friday.
In 2004, the University of Colorado's Natural Hazards Center listed a flash flood in Boulder as one of six "disasters waiting to happen" in the United States. But scientists and emergency officials have been preparing for this week's flooding since 1976, when a flash flood killed 145 people in Boulder's Big Thompson Canyon. [Colorado Flood Photos: 100-Year Storm]
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