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
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
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
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
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
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
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.