I use the term "inside" pretty loosely. Yes I'm in CO. Yes I know many people in the flooded areas, but I am not one of them. I'm one of the people luckily enough to be sitting in my dry home glued to the T.V. for any and all updates of this major tragedy. It's so hard to watch and yet I can't stop.
Just moments ago I watched a live press conference with Boulder officials that gave some astonishing updates.
- The National Guard rescued over 200 people and pets yesterday from Lyons, CO, a town completely isolated by the flooding. They used high water clearance vehicles to go in and out of Lyons.
- The same vehicles were used to rescue another 500 people from Lyons today. It's been said that there are over 2,000 people to rescue in Lyons.
- The helicopter unit from Ft. Carson, the same one that was dropping water over the Black Forest fire area, rescued over 700 people from various areas yesterday.
- They also rescued over 500 people and 200 pets today.
- That same helicopter crew used night vision goggles to rescue 45 people through the night last night.
- The Lt. Colonel who is running the operation said today, "I'm going to make a prediction that the greatest number of Americans have been rescued by helicopter since Hurricane Katrina." Wow. That's a big statement that really shows how big of an operation this rescue effort is.
One picture that circulated the internet was the one below shared in this tweet:
Everyone was very concerned for the lone horse and the news kept mentioning that they were trying to get an update. We finally got one today:
Also, one of the 9News Reporters spoke with the owner of the land, which also has cows on it not pictured. There is still too much water surrounding the land to remove the animals, but she was able to get a boat and take fresh hay to the cows and horses. They are still working on a plan to remove them, but for now they are ok.
We've also been able to see many rescues. Rescues of people and pets. This afternoon Governor John Hickenlooper was touring the damage in a helicopter with Senator Mark Udall and they ended up rescuing 4 people, 1 cat, and 1 dog. I can't even imagine the stories we are going to hear from all the people who were stranded for days. Many are still stranded and we don't know for how long.
I love this picture of someone so excited to be able to go back and get their dog and some personal belongings.
I don't love thinking about how fast they had to evacuate and not be able to take their pets with them. Stories started coming out today about having no time to gather pets. Flash floods happen in minutes. Even seconds. Getting a heads up to get to higher ground often means just enough time to grab your shoes and run. Many are able to take their pets because their pets freely go with them. But if your pet gets spooked and won't come, or hides, what do you do?
One woman in Evans was on the news in hyperventilating tears. She had to leave her cats. She has 7 that are indoor/outdoor cats and they were not all inside when she was told she had just minutes to get out. Evans is a town in the plains that does not usually have any flood concerns, but the level of rains here is swelling streams in the West and it's started showing up fast out East.
On a happier note, a guide dog is being credited for saving his vision impaired human after flood water swept him into a drainage ditch. The dog ended up jumping in after him as an Officer witnessed it and was able to follow them and rescue them. They were in the ditch for 17 minutes and the Officer credits the dog for keeping the man afloat. There have been several heart warming stories about pets. I am happy that CO is such a pet friendly, pet caring place.
Longmont Humane Society and other local shelters are taking in as many animals as they can. The cities are setting up emergency shelters as often as they are needed and the local communities are coming together to do everything possible to ease the pain of those affected.
This tragedy has a long way to go still. The Community has a lot of healing to do, but we will.
If you are interested in more local coverage of what's going on here are some links to sites that have some good info:
Good slideshows of images: http://photos.denverpost.com/2013/09/12/photos-massive-flash-flooding-along-front-range-of-colorado/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITV1h5pdu18 - this one has a live image of the horse mentioned above.
Also, you can follow the hashtags #COFlood, #BoulderFlood, #LongmontFlood and #COPets.
Some things I've learned in the last couple days: tragedy can never be fully realized until it is over, communities are stronger than most people think, and horses are excellent swimmers and these three are proof: