Colorado flooding: Evacuations, broken oil pipeline in Weld County


Oil Tank Battery in Weld County Colorado with protective liner

Oil Tank Battery in Weld County

By Bruce Finley – The Denver Post – September 14, 2013

GREELEY — As Front Range floodwaters continued to drain into the swelling South Platte River Saturday, authorities scrambled to evacuate stranded residents from homes and deal with a broken oil and gas industry pipeline. They also braced for the possibility of more rains in the mountains.

Weld County rescue crews used boats and helicopters to evacuate about 30 residents east of Greeley during the night Friday. And county commissioners also said at least 140 roads have been closed, including parts of Interstate 25.

“It is no doubt an epic event. It is a once in 500 years or 1,000 years situation, Commissioner Sean Conway said. “This is a fluid situation. It can change any moment. We are anticipating more rainfall in the mountains. That water level (in the South Platte River) could rise rapidly,” Conway said.

“Put together a to-go box. Get together your papers… Please, listen to the local authorities.” Families such as the Turners — Mike, Susan and their two kids east of Greeley — stayed put in their homes despite evacuation orders as the South Platte rose slowly around them.

Mike Turner stayed awake until 3 a.m. while the other slept, watching the water engulf his horse pen and farm fields and an oil tank and well. Saturday morning he saw the damage. “There is some crude in the water — not a huge amount,” he said.

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