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Clear and Plum Creek Drainages

July 20-25, 1965

 
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To view the summary as a pdf document (printer friendly) click here
Rainfall Data: click here
Damage Estimate: In Georgetown, $60,000 to public facilities and $15,000 to private facilities. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo near Colorado Springs sustained $300,000 in damage and flooding caused $150,000 in damage to roads in the area. Damage in Golden was estimated at $80,000.
Deaths: At least 3

A pattern of severe weather, affecting a large portion of the Colorado Front Range, began on July 19 producing dozens of locally intense thunderstorms over several days. The Front Range region was just beginning to recover from the most severe flooding in Colorado history just one month prior. From July 19-22, the storms were very localized, hitting scattered areas in and to the west of the Denver area. From July 23-24, the storms intensified and heavy rains fell over wide areas in the northeastern section of the Front Range. In addition, heavy rains pummeled Georgetown and other scattered areas just east of the Continental Divide. Colorado Springs and areas west of the city were hard hit by the storms. On July 25, the Denver area was hit again by a powerful storm with intense rains falling in a very short time. The rains were confined to a narrow belt starting about 40 miles southwest of Denver and extending about 40 miles north east of the city.

Serious river flooding hit Denver on July 23-25. On July 24 Tucker Gulch Creek and Clear Creek both jumped their banks and flooded areas in Golden and west Denver. Bear Creek, southwest of Denver, was in flood stage and East Plum Creek was over its bank at points from Castle Rock south to Larkspur. On July 25, low-lying areas west of Brighton were flooded by the South Platte.

In the Denver metropolitan area, several locales experienced rainwater and urban street flooding during July 20-25. On July 20, two bridges over Tucker Gulch in Jefferson County near Golden were washed out. On July 23, Sand Creek took out temporary earthen bridges in Aurora built to replace bridges that were destroyed during the June floods. In Denver some streets and intersections were flooded and several highways east and southeast of Denver were washed out.

The greatest flood damage occurred on July 24. Areas to the south and west of Denver were especially hard hit. Flooding of Clear Creek forced a closure on U.S. 6 and one at W. 44 th Ave. Plum Creek south of Castle Rock took out two temporary earthen bridges on U.S. 85-87 that were installed after the June floods. In addition, a temporary railroad bridge - also erected as a replacement structure was washed out two miles south of Sedalia, halting rail traffic between Denver and Colorado Springs. On the evening of July 25, Denver was hit once more by a quick moving storm. Low-lying areas again experienced rainwater and street flooding and several residents' homes were compromised by severe bank erosion along Sand Creek in Commerce City.

In the mountains west of Denver, costly flood damage was widespread. On July 21, a heavy downpour in Central City washed away part of a street. On July 23 Leavenworth Creek flooded homes in the eastern part of Georgetown. The town's sewer system was damaged and the water supply contaminated. On July 24, Cub and Bear Creeks in Evergreen took out bridges and damaged roads. From July 23-24, mudslides caused traffic delays and forced closures of portions of U.S. 6 and Colorado 119 near Georgetown, Idaho Springs and Black Hawk.

In northeastern Colorado, several areas in and near Greeley were flooded and the highway between Nunn and Pierce was closed on July 23.

West of Colorado Springs, rainwater flooding on July 24 caused extensive damage at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and to roads in the area. Waters pouring down Cheyenne Mountain flooded the Broadmoor Hotel. Railroad tracks were washed out south of Colorado Springs disrupting rail service between Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

The flooding caused 3 confirmed drowning deaths and 2 other suspected flood fatalities. Three children were swept away by high water on I-25 south of Colorado Springs as rescuers attempted to pull them from their flood-stalled car. A young man was presumed dead after his car was found in a flooded irrigation canal near Hudson. Another young man was thought to be missing and had possibly drowned south of Colorado Springs.

Rainfall Data:

Date
Location
Peak Rainfall
7/19
Johnstown
2"-3" in 1 hr.
7/19
Evergreen Area
2.95" in 2 hrs.
7/20
Briggsdale
1.07" in 1 hr.
7/23
Big Springs Ranch (near Ellicot)
2.54" from 4-5 p.m.; 1.45" from 5-6 p.m.
7/24
White Rock (19 mi. SW of Fowler)
1.22" in 1 hr.; 1.61" in 3 hrs.
7/24
Morrison 1 SW
1.64" in 1 hr.; 2.28" in 3 hrs.
7/25
Denver WSFO AP
1.59" in 1 hr.; 2.00" in 3 hrs.
7/25
Denver area (unoffical report)
2.30" in 40 min.
7/25
Aurora (unoffical report)
3.30" in 30-40 min.

Sources

-Storm Data, July 1965

-Climatological Data, July 1965

-The Denver Post, July 21, 24, 25, 26, 1965


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