Tag Archives: floods

Boulder Valley Flooding History

An interesting set of pages on floods in the Boulder, Colorado area, last updated in 2005:

Due to its location near the mouth of numerous canyons, the Boulder area is a major flash flood risk. Following are descriptions compiled by Elizabeth Black of some of the flash floods that have occurred in the region beginning with the flood of 1894. Such floods– and many larger– have happened before the area was developed…. and will sooner or later happen again.

  • 1894 (100 Year Flood– over 10,000 cubic feet per second on Boulder Creek)
  • 1896 (Damage around the city of Boulder)]
  • 1896 (Storm and damage around Marshall and Coal Creek drainage)
  • 1906 (Flood down Sunshine Canyon)
  • 1909 (Two Die in Two Mile Creek)
  • 1916 (Four Mile Canyon Creek flooding)
  • 1921 (Coal Creek)
  • 1929 (Cloudburst causes flooding)
  • 1938 (Eldorado Springs and South Boulder Creek flooding)
  • 1941 (Two Mile Creek)
  • 1950 (Four Mile Canyon Creek)
  • 1951 (Four Mile Canyon Creek)
  • 1955 (Two Mile Creek and Four Mile Canyon Creek)
  • 1969 (Two Mile Creek and Bear Creek flooding)

There is also a list of flood events, and a map of the at-risk areas of the town.

Boulder High Hazard Zone
Boulder High Hazard Zone

Anybody interested to know a list of the fools who built in the middle of the HHZ?

This area includes City of Boulder facilities, University of Colorado married student housing, many residences, businesses and Boulder High School.

Orders Countermanded, Comrades! Strong El Nino Is Good For You!

Thus spoke Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California on Sep 28. 2009:

A macho El Niño like that of 1997-1998 is off the board, but I’m hoping for a relaxation in the tropical trade winds and a surprise strengthening of El Niño that could result in a shift in winter storm patterns over the United States. If the trade winds decrease, the ocean waters will continue to warm and spread eastward, strengthening the El Niño. That scenario could bring atmospheric patterns that will deliver much-needed rainfall to the southwestern United States this winter. If not, the dice seem to be loaded for below-normal snowpacks and another drier-than-normal winter…Don’t give up on this El Niño. He might make a late break and put his spin on this fall and winter’s weather systems

Wait a moment…so now a non-weak El Niño is good? Is this the first time anybody has said anything positive about El Niño?

No, it isn’t. Still, the ENSO has often been described as some kind of scourge. For example, here’s an article from The Independent on Jan 1, 2007:

A combination of global warming and the El Niño weather system is set to make 2007 the warmest year on record with far-reaching consequences for the planet, one of Britain’s leading climate experts has warned.

Professor Jones said the long-term trend of global warming – already blamed for bringing drought to the Horn of Africa and melting the Arctic ice shelf – is set to be exacerbated by the arrival of El Niño, the phenomenon caused by above-average sea temperatures in the Pacific.

The WMO said its latest readings showed that a “moderate” El Niño, with sea temperatures 1.5C above average, was taking place which, in the worst case scenario, could develop into an extreme weather pattern lasting up to 18 months, as in 1997-98. The UN agency noted that the weather pattern was already having “early and intense” effects, including drought in Australia and dramatically warm seas in the Indian Ocean, which could affect the monsoons. It warned the El Niño could also bring extreme rainfall to parts of east Africa which were last year hit by a cycle of drought and floods

And from a brochure published the UK’s Met Office in Nov 2006:

Dry spells are not unusual in the Amazon, but normally occur in El Niño years.

[…] the large number of Indonesian fires and associated increase in carbon emissions during the 1997-1998 El Niño event

And the IPCC (TAR)? Here it is:

El Niño is associated with dry conditions in northeast Brazil, northern Amazonia, the Peruvian-Bolivian Altiplano, and the Pacific coast of Central America. The most severe droughts in Mexico in recent decades have occurred during El Niño years, whereas southern Brazil and northwestern Peru have exhibited anomalously wet conditions

More recently, from the IPCC’s AR4, WG2, chapter 1:

After the accelerated shrinkage of the glacier during the 1990s, enhanced by the warm 1997/98 El Niño, Bolivia lost its only ski area

Stop Press! West Antartica Is Melting!!

Or maybe, not yet…

In warmer past and likely future, West Antarctica melted regularly, raising seas tremendously“: yes, but the “likely future […] will be hundreds if not a thousand years from now“.

From a “news” viewpoint, this is definitely one for the record books. Printed just a few centuries earlier than usual…

Upcoming breaking news: will the USA strengthen itself after the economic crisis of AD 6358? What to do to prepare for the influx of refugees in the Siberian wars of the 86th century? And will the Chicago Cubs win the World Series of AD 11,908, for the first time in a 10,000 years?

(yes some things will never change)