Colorado Congressional Delegation Urges President to Approve Emergency Declaration for Colorado Floods

Would Make Assistance Available for Response and Recovery Efforts

September 12, 2013

The Colorado Congressional delegation sent a letter today to President Obama asking him to approve a request for an emergency declaration due to severe flooding across Colorado.  If approved, the declaration would make crucial assistance available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for response and search and rescue efforts.

“Unlike typical flash floods in the West, which are characterized by quick, isolated deluges over a specific area, Colorado’s floods resulted from a massive amount of rain over a widespread area,” the delegation wrote in the letter.  “In central Boulder alone, 8 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.  Governor Hickenlooper estimated that Colorado received the equivalent of 100 inches of snow in 24 hours. It is a staggering amount of precipitation, and an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain is predicted to fall by this evening.

“Governor Hickenlooper has determined that these floods are of sufficient severity and magnitude that additional supplementary federal assistance is necessary in order to support state and local officials in their search and rescue operations, and in their immediate response to this crisis,” the letter added.

An emergency declaration would trigger federal disaster assistance to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the flooding.  The President’s approval would authorize FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts and to provide appropriate assistance to save lives and to protect property, public health, and safety.

Read the full letter below:

September 12, 2013

Dear Mr. President:

We write to support Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s request for an expedited emergency declaration in response to the enormously destructive flooding in Boulder, Larimer, and El Paso counties and other communities along Colorado’s Front Range.

Unlike typical flash floods in the West, which are characterized by quick, isolated deluges over a specific area, Colorado’s floods resulted from a massive amount of rain over a widespread area.  In central Boulder alone, 8 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.  Governor Hickenlooper estimated that Colorado received the equivalent of 100 inches of snow in 24 hours. It is a staggering amount of precipitation, and an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain is predicted to fall tonight.

At this time, three people are confirmed dead and at least one is missing.  Thousands of families are being evacuated, roads are closed and collapsing, dams have overflowed, and many Coloradans remain stranded. Waters continue to rise in Commerce City, Aurora, Longmont, Boulder and parts of Denver. Flooding is also underway in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Greeley. Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by washed-out roads and bridges, rockslides and mudslides, and deep pools of unstable water dammed by debris.  Residents in Lyons and Jamestown are under a mandatory evacuation order, but are stranded because of washed out roads.  Many are sheltering in elementary schools, but are unreachable by first responders. The town of Estes Park is badly flooded, and in the Fourmile Canyon area, homes and buildings have collapsed or washed away.  In some parts of Boulder, water reached as high as first-floor windows; dive teams were dispatched after cars were seen floating.

Governor Hickenlooper has determined that these floods are of sufficient severity and magnitude that additional supplementary federal assistance is necessary in order to support state and local officials in their search and rescue operations, and in their immediate response to this crisis.  We respectfully request your prompt consideration of the Governor’s September 12 request, and urge you to issue an expedited emergency declaration to assist our state in combating and recovering from the floods.

We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this important request. 

Sincerely,

  • Washington Office
    202-224-5852
  • Denver Office
    303-455-7600
  • Pueblo Office
    719-542-7550
  • Alamosa Office
    719-587-0096
  • Eagle County Office
    970-433-1361
  • Colorado Springs Office
    719-328-1100
  • Fort Collins Office
    970-224-2200
  • Grand Junction Office
    970-241-6631
  • Durango Office
    970-259-1710