Flooding Poudre River – In A Colorado Minute (Week 177) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Most of you probably heard about the record amount of rain coming down on Colorado this past week and all the terrible flooding it caused; destroying homes, bridges, streets and leaving thousands of people stranded without power or running water. There were deaths and still many people are missing.

For me it was the first full week of living in Colorado. As I have been making these weekly 1-minute videos for over three years both as a moving postcard greeting to you (that I hope you also send as a greeting to others) and also as a kind of video journal of what I experience personally, I was faced with the question if I should run out there with my camera and capture the catastrophe. I decided not to. While I think it’s important to capture and share news, I don’t appreciate sensationalizing a catastrophe. Maybe even more importantly, I didn’t want to be a driver on the streets adding to the frustration of gridlock traffic and thus blocking emergency vehicles and people who really needed to get somewhere to help.

Therefore, what week 177 was really like for me had nothing to do with catastrophe and tragedy. On the contrary, I happened to have a lovely week with my husband and my in-laws (visiting from Florida) – mostly hiding from the rain and nesting in a brand new home in Ft. Collins. But who really wants to see a video of that…? I thought so.

But because I did want to capture a little bit what happened this week, once the worst was over, (on September 16th) I shot these images for you of the Cache La Poudre River that runs through Ft. Collins. By this time the flood waters had mostly moved further east, wrecking havoc in Greeley and beyond.

In the video you can still see how much higher the water had been in the days before by the destruction of the banks – but you can also see that it’s still higher than normal, flooding my jogging path along the river and destroying the beach we hung out after tubing down the river on the 4th of July. The closer images of the water remind you how fast and powerful running water can be. By the end of filming it began raining again. 

Even though for the last few days the sun has been out most of the time (and we did finally get to take the family out to see some of the beauty of the foothills), the effects of the rain and flooding will be felt for a long time. I’m very grateful to live in a safe place. My family lost our home due to flooding when I was four, so I’m familiar with the devastation it can cause.  My heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones or their homes.

The song you hear through the rushing water is called “Bruce Lee” and was written and recorded by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions.

Cache La Poudre River during the 2013 flood in Colorado
“River Access”

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