Colorado's Deadliest Floods

Colorado's Deadliest Floods

by Darla Sue Dollman

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Ranked among the top ten states for both disasters and dry climate, Colorado has a long history of extreme weather. On May 19, 1864, residents of the fledgling gold rush town of Denver awoke to a wall of water slamming into the city with enough force to flatten buildings and rip clothing from its victims. The infamous Big Thompson Canyon flood of 1976 killed 144 residents, tourists and campers. Per the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Coloradoans experienced twenty-two floods with contemporary monetary losses of $2 million or more since the flood of 1864. And as the population continues to grow, the loss of lives, property, crops and livestock may increase. Local author Darla Sue Dollman, who witnessed and survived many of the contemporary disasters, examines the state's most catastrophic flash floods from 1864 to 2013.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439662441
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/04/2017
Series: Disaster
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Darla Sue Dollman (BA, MFA) worked as a photojournalist for thirty-eight years covering weather disasters for local and national news sources, magazines and websites. She served on the English department faculty at Colorado State University, among other institutions. She now volunteers with the National Weather Service as a storm spotter in Weld County, Colorado. Darla Sue writes about weather disasters on her Wild West Weather website ( and about Colorado history on her Wild West History blog (

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 9

Preface 11

Introduction 17

1 Denver, Gone in a Flash: The Great Flood of 1864 23

2 The Growl of the Big Bear: The Bear Greek Basin Floods of 1896 and a History of Floods in the Bear Greek Basin 35

3 Terror in the Night: The Eden Train Wreck of 1904 45

4 Catastrophe at Cherry Creek: The Denver Flood of 1912 55

5 Heroes on the Telephone: The Pueblo Flood of 1921 61

6 The 1933 Castlewood Dam Disaster: Telephone Operators Save Lives When Denver Floods 73

7 Miracles and Tragedies: The Monument Creek and Kiowa Creek Floods of 1935 83

8 The 1965 Colorado Floods: Catastrophic Flooding in the South Platte and Arkansas River Basins 93

9 The Big Thompson Canyon Flood: National Celebration Turned Tragedy in 1976 103

10 The Lawn Lake Dam Disaster of 1982 in Estes Park and Colorado's Dams 123

11 The Spring Creek Flood of 1997: The Night the Kitten Roared 131

12 Mass Evacuations: The 2013 Colorado Floods 143

Glossary 163

Bibliography 167

About the Author 173

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