North Forty News Witnesses First-Hand the Flooding in Poudre Canyon

While delivering newspaper routes in Red Feather and Poudre Canyon, Publisher, Blaine Howerton, and Reporter Annie Lindgren, stopped at Glen Echo Resort. “Have you heard the bridge is out?,” said a stopped traveler on Highway 14.

The traveler also said there was a mudslide on the highway and that it was blocked. Back on the road, Annie noticed a black, swollen, and raging Poudre River below Glen Echo resort. 

Just a mile down from Glen Echo Resort, the Poudre river appeared normal, as if the flood had disapeared. As Blaine and Annie traveled East on Highway 14 they observed kayakers in the river, folks out fishing, and campers in the riverside campgrounds. 

The Poudre River appeared to be flowing as normal. “It seems nothing is happening,” said Blaine as he was driving. Annie watched the river closely, expecting the raging torrent from above to catch up, but it never did. 

Annie and Blaine then stopped at the Mishawaka. It was closed for the evening, but the door was open. The bar manager knew nothing of a flash flood upriver. “Usually, the black water will come down, and then clear out,” he said. Nothing seemed to be happening at the Mishawaka either.

Not long after the last newspaper delivery, at Poudre Park, an Emergency Alert System message came over the radio alerting listeners in the area to quickly vacate and seek higher ground. The Mishawaka and Poudre Park locations were mentioned in the alert. Emergency vehicles, with lights flashing, raced up the canyon at a greater frequency.

By the return to Ted’s Place, at the base of the canyon, State Patrol had the highway closed. Blaine, who lives in Poudre Canyon, couldn’t go home. “When it’s back open, you can go up. But now it’s closed due to a bridge out and a mudslide,” the trooper said. Then the evacuation orders came through.

At the Red Cross shelter at Cache La Poudre High School, where Blaine awaited news of the road re-opening, a volunteer said they were getting supplies to open the shelter. “As soon as our shipment arrives, we will open the triage,” the volunteer said.

By morning, the ash had washed down the Poudre River, turning the water mostly black. Highway 14 opened to the public from Ted’s Place but remained closed at Rustic.

The Larimer County Sheriff reported one person dead and two people missing. The Sheriff reported the closure of the Poudre River and mentioned the search operation will continue throughout Wednesday.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning, including Fort Collins and Poudre Canyon. Residents were keeping a watchful eye while rain began to fall again in the Cameron Peak Burn area. There is no cell service in the canyon, making it harder to alert those in the flood’s path.

Further updates will be available as North Forty News gets them. (Published in North Forty News)