Sunday, September 22, 2013

Foothills Flooding. Did You Ignore The Clues?

The last few years here along the Front Range in Colorado have been filled with disasters. First, wildfires, and now an epic flood.  While one can feel compassion for those affected, in the background is the question, “What did you expect? Did you not think through all the factors involved in foothills living?” Obvious answer for most is no.

As a child, my father was a section foreman on the old Denver and Rio Grande railroad. We moved often and lived, at various times, in several foothill locations, Plainview, Pinecliff, Rollinsville, and East Portal.

My parents were children of the Great Depression and had close to “The Grapes of Wrath” life growing up. They were preppers long before the term became common. I clearly remember my father backing up a pickup to the front door of an Arvada, CO grocery store and filling it. This happened two to three times a year. That store manager liked to see us. Quite often our neighbors would accompany us for the same reasons.

When we moved to a new place, my parents focused on four things. First, water. Where did it come from? How dependable was the source? Second, fire hazards. None of these places was big enough to have a fire department, even a volunteer department. Third, heat for the winter. Fourth, access in and out. My parents also believed in the old West saying, “High, Dry, and Windy.”

So you want the mountain lifestyle. You move to an area that has a history of embedded thunderstorms dropping rain in huge amounts (recently, Boulder received 17”). Your only access is a two lane road along side a stream running through a narrow canyon. You can easily see the stumps of fire killed trees from an earlier era. You ignore the volumes of information on making your homestead more fire resistant. You don’t store any water. You have maybe ten days of food on hand. You have no alternative way of heating or cooking, except that decorative fireplace for which you have a few bundles of split softwood for fuel. You are probably in the upper socioeconomic scale as mountain property, and living,  is expensive. So what are you excuses for not being prepared?

 Ever think of some of the other hazards?

Now your life is turned upside down. Good luck with your insurance as you probably didn’t buy flood insurance.

I need to stop kicking people who are down. Hubris is doing a fine job on it’s own.

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  1. You're dead on... They don't 'understand' the reality, and think they will be bailed out cause they are 'rich'... yeah, not so much...

    1. We will cycle, and fifteen to twenty years from now it will happen again.

      My sister is working 60 - 70 hour weeks right now with no end in sight. Most of her work is East of I-25 along the Platte. They can't even get into the mountains until roads are rebuilt.

    2. Understood and I truly hope she's getting PAID for that overtime...

  2. I'm amused by those that can afford to live on oceanfront property in my state of Florida. Then they want the taxpayer to pay for sand replenishment for their properties as the water erodes their beachfront property.

    You should hear the howling after the storm surge hits their picture windows from a far away hurricane.

    1. Human nature stays the same everywhere. I'm not without compassion for the losses; just dumbfounded by people's lack of preparation and foresight.