Colorado’s Most Notorious Natural Disasters
In 2017, Colorado was one of the top inbound states for new residence; we welcomed nearly 80,000 people, bringing Colorado’s total population to about 5.6 million.
But it’s not all sunshine and snow-capped mountains out here. In fact, Colorado has endured several natural disasters including floods, hail storms, fires, and tornados.
Natural disasters don’t attract newcomers, but they’re a good reminder to everyone: disasters don’t discriminate, so it’s best to be prepared.
Here’s a look at some of Colorado’s most notorious disasters.
2013 Front Range Floods
Most people will remember this recent disaster, which spanned the Front Range from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs. From September to the early months of 2014, rapid and unprecedented rainfall forced many to evacuate.
At least eight people died and hundreds were unaccounted for. The National Guard was called in and helped hundreds of people and pets flee to safety.
Property damage was vast and expensive. Nearly 19,000 homes were damaged; 1,500 were destroyed completely. Highway bridges, roads, passenger rail lines, farmlands, oil and gas wells were also devastated.
The 2013 Front Range Floods cost an estimated $2.9 billion and is one of the worst natural disasters in Colorado history.
Colorado Hail Storms
Coloradans are all too familiar with large ice balls falling from the sky. If you lived here in 2017, the Denver Metro area suffered what is now regarded as the most catastrophic hail storm in state history.
Thousands of homes, vehicles, and commercial buildings were damaged by baseball-sized hail rocks, which broke windows, pummeled rooftops, and more. The 2017 hail storm reportedly cost $2.3 billion in property damage.
Sadly, hail storms are common in Colorado; their destruction spans the decades. In 1976, one of only three fatalities known to have been caused by hail occurred in Fort Collins: 2,000 homes and 2,500 vehicles were damaged, 25 people were injured, and a three-month-old baby died of a fractured skull.
For more than a month, in the summer of 2002, the Hayman Fire tore through Douglas, Jefferson, Park, and Teller counties. More than 138,000 acres burned, forcing more than 5,000 people to evacuate their homes and businesses.
A forestry technician with the US Forest Service pleaded guilty to setting the fire, which resulted in one civilian death, millions in suppression costs, the destruction of 133 homes and private property damage valued at more than $40 million.
Windsor, Colorado Tornado
In May of 2008, a total of 239 confirmed tornados swept across the central plains; it’s one of the largest, continuous tornado outbreaks on record. One tornado, known as the Windsor Tornado, began near the towns of Platteville and Gilcrest and traveled north along Interstate 25.
The tornado’s path touched east of Milliken, west of Greeley, and tore through Windsor, damaging hundreds of homes, businesses, farmlands, and utilities. The tornado reached Fort Collins before dissipating.
Eight-hundred and fifty homes were damaged, 300 more were completely leveled. The Windsor tornado caused a total of $147 million in damages and remains one of Colorado’s most devastating disasters.
Property damage is always a possibility when disaster strikes. Keep yourself and family members safe during a crisis, and let the professionals handle the rest.