Yesterday I had a little fun at Al Gore’s expense for his latest speech on the circuit pronouncing imminent doom.
A reader pointed out that, notwithstanding Gore’s insistence that global warming had caused Boulder Colorado’s floods: “They had never seen anything like this in [Boulder’s] Manitou Springs,” Gore said, it was proto-environmentalists of the 70s who blocked water diversion projects that might have mitigated some of the damage. Curious, I looked it up, and here’s what I found. Boulder has always flooded, and residents have always known it. Or they were certainly on notice.
“There’s no scientific definition of ‘biblical,'”reported Climate Progress, “but the flooding has been unlike anything local residents have ever seen before.”
Well, yes and no. … But it should come as no surprise that Boulder flooded. Crack open the history books and you’ll find that the Front Range has always been flood prone. According to the Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network (BASIN), when it comes to flooding, “the Boulder Creek drainage is considered among the most hazardous in the entire western United States.” The city sits smack at the mouth of Boulder Canyon, and because its floodplain is so developed, the risks to human safety and property are especially high here.
Boulder owes its vulnerability to geography. It’s pushed up against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and steep-sided canyons. When storms get stuck above it, as they did last week, rains can careen off pitched slopes into the canyons, where creeks swell and eventually burst forth onto the city itself. One of the earliest documented instances of this was in 1894, which incidentally, was also Boulder’s last 100-year flood event. Homes, bridges and train tracks were swept away, and the girth of Left Hand Creek apparently grew to a half-mile. Significant flood events have occurred more than a dozen times since.
Flood preparedness and new development is regulated in Boulder’s floodplain, but that didn’t happen until after the city had bloomed in the hazard zone – despite warnings from Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., who was hired to make a flood control plan for the city in 1910. “The principal waterway in Boulder is Boulder Creek, and its principal function, from which there is no escaping, is to carry off storm-water which runs into it from the territory which it drains,” Olmsted advised. “If, lulled by the security of a few seasons of small storms, the community permits the channel to be encroached upon, it will inevitably pay the price in destructive floods.” As employees of the city’s public works department wrote in a mid-’90s report on community flood education, it’s too bad that “Boulder took (Olmsted’s) report and placed it on the shelf for more than 65 years.”
From another article, “The History of the Boulder Flood Plain”, we learn this:
“The snow-fed creeks that tumble down the foothills to the broad plains along Colorado’s Front Range, the eastern face of the central Rockies, do not bring to mind raging, out-of-control floodwaters filled with debris – a potential for death and destruction to property.
“From the month of May through September of any year, however, warm air masses from the Gulf of Mexico may circle upslope toward the Front Range, bringing with them storm cells that can produce intense rainfall. The resulting cloudbursts may quickly fill the channels of these small creeks which then take on a vastly different character.” – Phyllis Smith, A History of Floods and Flood Control in Boulder, Colorado.
From a Greeley Sun May 1876 article:
Coal Creek inspired terror on Monday last, if never before. About noon the streets of Erie began to fill with water, and before an hour had elapsed, houses were flooded and the whole flat on which the town is located was swept by a muddy, roaring flood, over a quarter of a mile in width.
This conspiracy of terrain and climate that has made Boulder famous are not limited to the Boulder Creek flood plain. The South Platte flooded in 1844, according to an 1864 newspaper article in Denver; Major James Bridger tells of the flood and how 9 days passed before he could cross the river near its confluence with Cherry Creek.
In 1864 floods again ravaged Denver and “down the Platte went the new city hall, the Trinity Methodist Church, and the offices of the Rocky Mountain News.”
Boulder Creek began flooding a late May morning in 1894 during a storm that dropped rain for 60 hours on heavy snowpack. Nearly 9 inches of rain fell at Ward; Left Hand Creek, which flows into the Saint Vrain, swelled to 300 yards across. Witnesses said “Jamestown’s church floated downstream with its bell tolling.” Near Eagle Rock, a woman was found “waist-deep in mud, holding one of her children aloft.”
In Boulder, the downtown’s bridges washed away. Basements filled with sand and silt. The town’s swollen waterways now carried houses, out buildings, huge rocks and trees. Floods came again in 1897, 1904 and 1909.
[Olmstead, 1910] recommended the city preserve “a simple piece of pretty bottom-land of the very sort that Boulder Creek has been flooding over for countless centuries, of growing a few tough old trees on it and few bushes.” Children could romp and passers-by could enjoy the best views of the foothills from the shady banks of the creek. “And,” Olmsted added, ”it is probably the cheapest way of handling the flood problem of Boulder Creek.”
The Boulder Valley also saw flooding in 1914, 1919, 1921, 1933, 1938 and 1939, according to Smith. Yet by the late 1950s, there had been major development in the Boulder Creek flood plain. As a result, the chance of flood damage in Boulder had increased by 30 percent since 1938, according to a 1958 study of U.S. flood plains out of the University of Chicago. Notice the chance of a flood and the chance of flood damage are not the same. The study also found most folks in Boulder didn’t think flooding was an issue for the town any longer.
From the use of false and doctored data, the suppression of scientific articles refuting the doctrine, and the recent calls to suppress and censor all dissenting views, it’s pretty obvious that the warmists are covering up the flaws in their phony theory – else why do it? Facts are facts, and should speak for themselves. Worse, perhaps, is a buffoon like Al Gore roaming the world spouting “facts” that he must know are simply, unalterably, false.
What are these people lying about?