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Floods transform Colorado's 'Gore-Tex Vortex'

By Jeri Clausing

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 15 2013 2:42 p.m. MDT

Supplies of gas and groceries had been running low until Route 7 was recently reopened. On Sunday, people were lined up at the one gas station where a tanker had arrived.

At the Aspen and Evergreen Gallery along the town's main street next to the Big Thompson River, owner Tamara Jarolimek was clearing out the shop Sunday in fear that the new wave of rain would cause another surge.

"We only have limited time to get out as much as we can," she said.

At the town's historic Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining," clerk Renee Maher said the hotel was nearly empty. Though it sits on a hill overlooking town, the ground was so saturated that water was seeping in through the foundation, and had caused one suite's bathtub to pop out "like a keg," Maher said.

Despite the mess, some people staying in town turned out for the Stanley's nightly ghost tours.

"They said they came because they had nothing to do," Maher said.

In Boulder, often called America's fittest town, Mayor Matt Appelbaum warned people to stay out of the wide-open spaces that ring the city.

"I know that people are eager to get out there again, but it's truly unsafe." he said. "Places that I've known and loved for 30 years are gone."

Boulder remained a refuge for evacuees from the more isolated mountain towns. These refugees filled a church, a YMCA and a high school and crashed on couches around town. Meanwhile, water continued to back up in some parts of town and a water treatment plant remained down Sunday.

But the town was bouncing back. Libraries and recreation centers have reopened. Students are again spilling out of cutesy restaurants on Pearl Street, and classes at the University of Colorado are expected to resume Monday.

Deeper in the mountains, people are wondering whether if the rest of the state will move on without them.

"At least it's the slow season, so we have some time to rebuild," Lyons resident Kevin Cray said. "There's going to be cleanup for a long time. Folks are going to have to come together."

Associated Press photographer Brennan Linsley contributed to this report.

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