Noteworthy Colorado Floods

Information on many flood events in Colorado is sketchy, particularly for floods before 1900, and this is not intended to be a complete list. The following floods are noteworthy either for loss of life, extent of property damage , or other unusual circumstances.

May 19-20, 1864 - Heavy rain over the upper basin of Cherry Creek caused 19 deaths along Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in Denver.

July 24, 1896 - Cloudburst centered on Cub Creek near Morrison killed 27 people.

August 7, 1904 - Heavy rain resulted in a train wreck near Pueblo. One hundred people died.

October 5, 1911 - Heavy rains caused flooding from Del Norte to Monte Vista in the San Luis Valley, closing the railroad temporarily.

October 5, 1911 - Heavy rains near Durango caused the Animas River to rise to 8 feet above flood stage.

June 3-5, 1921 - Cloudbursts between Canon City and Pueblo caused flooding which killed at least 78 people. Over 20 million dollars in damage was reported.

June 29, 1927 - Snowmelt and heavy rains flooded the Rio Grande River from Rio Grande Reservoir to past Alamosa. Five bridges were destroyed and train serviced halted. Three persons died.

July 7-8, 1933 - A cloudburst centered near Idledale and Saw Mill Gulch killed 5 people.

August 2-3, 1933 - Three to nine inches of rain in 9 hours caused Castlewood Dam on Cherry Creek to fail. Seven people died in Denver. Damage was estimated at 1 million dollars.

August 9, 1934 - Cloudbursts centered on Mount Vernon Canyon killed 6 people.

May 30, 1935 - Cloudbursts along Monument Creek in Colorado Springs killed 4 people.

May 30 - 31, 1935 - Up to 10 inches of rain fell in the Republican River Basin in Eastern Colorado, causing 6 deaths and more than a million dollars in damage.

July 11-12, 1935 - Cloudbursts over Wolf Creek at Granada caused flooding which killed 8 people.

September 2-3, 1938 - Nearly 8 inches of rain in 6 hours at Morrison trapped and drowned 6 people in a car between Morrison and Kittredge.

August 24, 1946 - Heavy rain near Idledale drowned 1 person stranded in a car.

August 2-3, 1951 - Over 4 inches of rain at Waterdale caused a dam failure on Buckhorn Creek. Four persons died and many were made homeless.

May 9, 1957 - Four inches of rain in 5 hours in the Toll Gate Creek Basin caused flooding which killed 3 people in a car in Aurora.

June 14-18, 1965 - A general storm with numerous cloudbursts affected most of Eastern Colorado. Approximately 20 people died. Approximately 600 million dollars damage was incurred. Two people died when a dam failed in Prowers County, causing 18 million dollars in damage at Holly, Granada and Lamar.

May, 1973 - Prolonged rains of up to 6 inches on May 5th and 6th in the South Platte Basin, along with melting of a large snowpack, produced major flooding during the next two weeks along the South Platte River. One person died and damages were estimated at around 120 million dollars.

July 31, 1976 - Cloudbursts produced around 12 inches of rain near Glen Haven, mostly between 6 and 11 pm, causing a record flood on the Big Thompson river. Approximately 150 people died.

July 2-3, 1981 - Intense rains of up to 10 inches near Trinidad caused the failure of a railway bridge and derailment of a train.

July 15, 1982 - Lawn Lake Dam in Rocky Mountain National Park failed, causing 2 deaths in Rocky Mountain National Park and around 30 million dollars in damage near Estes Park.

July 28, 1997 - Up to 10 inches of rain in around 5 hours fell in the vicinity of Fort Collins on ground already saturated from previous rains. There was over 100 million dollars in damage at Colorado State University alone. Five persons died when a trailer park along Spring Creek was inundated.

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