On September 12, a flood devastated over 2,000 square miles of the Front Range of Colorado. Over eight inches of rain soaked the area. Many have called it a “thousand year event” because of the excessive rain and unprecedented flooding. So far eight people have been found dead, over 100 miles of road damaged, and thousands of homes have been ruined.
Almost Immediately after the floods, President Obama, as well as Governor John Hickenlooper stepped in. The day after the floods began, Obama gave the Federal Emergency Management Agency permission to begin giving aid to the region. On Sept. 13, Hickenlooper said in the Denver Post, “Each time an issue arises, we’re saying ‘all right, do we need a special session or can we deal with that,’ “ on the topic of convening a special session to assess the damage and decide what to do. The next day he signed for $20 million for disaster relief.
Everything began on Monday, Sept. 9, as rain began to fall over the Front Range. In just 24 hours almost a year’s worth of rain was dropped on the area. Over 2,000 homes were destroyed by the torrents of water that surged down roads and transformed small creeks into rivers. Roads and bridges were badly damaged and many were destroyed. Along with the eight dead, thousands of people have been evacuated.
Approximately 14,000 people were evacuated, due in large part to the National Guard who began to evacuate people on Friday. Three thousand people and 900 pets have been evacuated by helicopter, and hundreds more from “high profile” trucks that “wade” through the water. Of the thousands originally missing, the final six were found alive on Tuesday. There is only one person left unaccounted for, but is believed to be dead.
Among many activists there has been a severe concern about the multitude of fracking wells in the path of the floods, and recently their worries were confirmed. Many fracking and oil wells were destroyed, releasing chemicals and oil into the water. In Weld County, the site of thousands of fracking wells, many were submerged, and even some tanks containing the waste produced by the fracking were torn away. This connects to people living in Pennsylvania because of the immense amount of fracking going on in the state. Due to the high concern the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took helicopters out to do an aerial survey. They were looking for oil sheens, but were also on the lookout for any signs that an event like the Yellowstone River pipeline rupture of 2011 could happen again.