Well, it looks like the rain might actually be coming to an end around here. That means the cleanup effort will begin in earnest. Although we weren’t really affected at all, just a mile away there are lakes of water in streets and neighborhoods. On the south part of town, where Left Hand Creek overflowed its banks, there was mud everywhere– streets, yards, garages, and basements.
On Saturday it was grey and cloudy but not raining, so Alex and I went down to that area to see what we could do. Alongside about a hundred people from church (multiple congregations), we spent the afternoon shoveling mud. It was soupy, pretty much like chocolate pudding, and it turned out the most effective tools for moving it were snow shovels. We pushed tons of it out of yards and sidewalks, hefted it out of basements in buckets, and did our best to not only clear it off properties but create channels for water to flow. The sheer amount of mud was staggering: it looked like the street had a thin layer of it, but when you stepped on it you realized it was knee-deep. Alex and I both took off our boots, which weren’t really going to help much anyway, and waded through the mud barefoot. By the end of the day we were caked with it.
Sunday it rained again, all day. At points, it was absolutely pouring. More areas of town were evacuated, and some people who had been evacuated and then returned home were asked to leave again. As before, our house and area of town were fine, but I can’t imagine the frustration of those people who basically were hit with a second flood.
Now that the rain is subsiding, the city work crews are getting organized and figuring out what to do. They didn’t want to take a lot of action over the past few days because they knew more rain and mud were on the way. I don’t know if all the work we did on Saturday was undone by Sunday’s rain, but I hope at least some of it was worthwhile.
School has been cancelled through Wednesday at least, and we’ll see if the kids will go back on Thursday. During the next few days I imagine we’ll have plenty of opportunity to help those affected by the flood move more mud around.
I feel so bad for those whose homes have been trashed… it’s amazing what even a little bit of water and mud can do. There are people in Estes Park who were evacuated and may not be able to return home for months. I’m grateful my house and family are okay, and want to do whatever I can to help those just a few miles away who are struggling with this mess.