Colorado flooding affecting agriculture as well
By Kylene Scott
Some are calling it the 100-year flood, but Colorado residents haven’t seen this much rain in quite some time. Since Sept. 9, areas around Denver, Boulder and to the north and east have seen upwards of 10 inches of rain. One report came into the National Weather Service Office in Denver/Boulder of 21.13 inches 3.3 miles southeast of Boulder, Colo.
Thousands of people are displaced from their homes and businesses. As of Sept. 17, according to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management there are eight deaths blamed on the flooding; another 648 people are unaccounted for. Seventeen counties are affected by flooding: Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Boulder, Clear Creek, Denver, El Paso, Fremont, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Morgan, Pueblo, Otero, Washington, Weld, and Sedgwick.
As more rain fell Sept. 15, agricultural areas around the South Platte River have become covered in water, and many livestock have been stranded. Roadway closures remain in place in some areas as roads are damaged or impassable. For a complete list of road closures visit www.coloradodot.info/travel/colorado-flood-highway-updates.
Many agricultural organizations in Colorado have been helping with flood recovery efforts, and Sept. 17, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association released a statement:
“CCA has been in touch with its members throughout the flood area to assess the best way the organization might be of assistance. As would be expected, beef producers are taking care of their families, neighbors, and livestock. At this time, CCA will continue ongoing assessments to determine if some level of relief assistance is desired from our members upon evaluating infrastructure, livestock and feed impacts. Additionally, the organization has been in touch with agencies, emergency responders, and federal disaster officials providing perspective of the floods impacts over the short and long term. For updates on the counties affected, and for relief and recovery guides, visit www.coemergency.com.”;
The Colorado Farm Bureau has set up a disaster fund to aid farmers and ranchers directly impacted by the recent flooding in northeast Colorado, and 100 percent of the funds will go directly to aiding these producers as they face the aftermath of this disaster.
Checks payable to Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation, cash and donations through PayPal are being accepted at this time. Please note Disaster Fund-Colorado Floods in the memo line. They can be sent to: Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation, Attn: Disaster Fund, 9177 E. Mineral Circle, Centennial, CO 80112. More information can be found at http://coloradofarmbureau.com/disasterfund/.
Most of the rain fell in the South Platte River Basin near Boulder, Colo., and as a result record flooding has occurred in Colorado and the river will crest into western Nebraska. Eventually this water will reach central and eastern Nebraska. Exactly how high the South Platte River will get is yet to be determined, NWS officials reported. Rises are expected to occur in these locations on these dates: Cozad, Neb., Sept. 20; Kearney, Neb., Sept. 22; Grand Island, Neb., Sept. 23; Duncan, Neb., Sept. 26; North Bend, Neb., Sept. 27; Leshara, Neb., Sept. 28; Ashland, Neb., Sept. 30; and Louisville, Neb., Oct. 1.
Specific crest information for the above sites is not available yet and will be made available once NWS officials have a better handle on the amount of water that will reach the Platte River in central Nebraska. For more information visit www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=gid&storyid=97181&source=0.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advised Coloradans residing in northeast Colorado including Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick and Weld counties to reduce health risks by avoiding contact with rivers and streams that may contain contaminants. Due to the severe flooding, rivers and streams may be contaminated with partially treated sewage and other wastewater due to power failures and damage to wastewater treatment systems.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advises residents or visitors in these counties to:
Keep out of rivers and streams until further notice.
Do not allow children or pets to play in the water, nor allow children to play with toys that have been in contact with the water.
Individuals who come in contact with the water or are involved in cleaning up flood debris should practice good personal hygiene and wash their hands frequently with soap and clean warm water.
If a person is exposed to the water and has open wounds or begins to feel ill with diarrhea or vomiting, he or she should contact a physician for guidance and inquire about receiving tetanus/diphtheria inoculations.
Agricultural workers who come in contact with such waters should practice good personal hygiene and wash their hands frequently with soap and clean warm water.
Kylene Scott can be reached by phone at 620-227-1804 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.