The costliest flood in Colorado history was the Denver/South Platte Flood of 1965. The deadliest flood in Colorado history was the 1921 Pueblo flood, where an estimated 1,500 people died, according to the National Weather Service.
Here is a look back at some of the worst floods in our state’s history, according to the NWS:
September 2013: Front Range flood
The Sept. 2013 flood brought record amounts of rain to Larimer, Boulder, southwest Weld, and El Paso counties, as well as the Denver metro area, according to NWS.
Boulder received over 17 inches of rain during the storm.
Here’s a look at the notable details of the flood:
- Date: Sept. 9-15, 2013
- Damage: The storm destroyed 1,500 houses, 200 commercial buildings and 30 state highway bridges. Flood waters damaged nearly 19,000 houses and 800 commercial buildings, 200 miles of roadway, and 20 state highway bridges
- Damage cost estimates: $1 to $2 billion dollars
- Deaths: 8 fatalities
July 1997: Fort Collins
A major flooding event happened in July of 1997 in Fort Collins when eight to 10 inches of rain fell in under five hours.
- Date: July 28, 1997
- Damage: Two mobile home parks and several homes and businesses were destroyed
- Damage cost estimates: The NWS said there was over $100 million in damage to Colorado State University alone
- Deaths: 5 people died
July 1976: Big Thompson Canyon
On July 31, 1976, which was the same weekend as Colorado’s 100th birthday, 12 to 14 inches of rain fell between 6:30-11 p.m. causing water to rise over banks and flow through the canyon corridors, according to the NWS. At some points, historians said that the water surge was as high as 19 feet.
- Date: July 31-Aug. 1, 1976
- Damage: US-34 was washed out, 10-foot-wide boulders were carried down the river, cars were swept away
- Damage cost estimates: Approximately $39 million
- Deaths: 143 people died and 150 people were injured
June 1965: Denver/South Platte flood
A major flood happened in June of 1965 when 14 inches of rain fell near Larkspur. The NWS said the water surged around 20 feet high and poured down Plum Creek into the South Platte River. It nearly destroyed Denver’s water supply and wiped out bridges, roads and homes.
- Date: June 16, 1965
- Damage: Homes, 26 bridges, roads, farmland, wells along the river
- Damage cost estimates: $540 million
- Deaths: 28 people died
June 1921: Arkansas River at Pueblo
The NWS said a total of six inches of rain fell in Pueblo June 3-5. Due to swelling of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek, the entire greater business district of Pueblo was flooded with water 10 feet deep, according to NWS.
- Date: June 3, 1921
- Damage: Over 600 homes were damaged
- Damage cost estimates: $25 million
- Deaths: Estimates as high as 1,500 people
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