Loveland flood recovery efforts impacted by rain

1:22 PM, Sep 15, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - A slow-moving band of rain showers that could drop an additional 2 to 3 inches in parts of Northern Colorado will make flood recovery work a soggy process on Monday as City crews work to keep roads open, mark hazards, assess flooded areas and prepare to serve flood victims.

While the rain falls, flows of the Big Thompson River have slowed with cutbacks in the amount of water released from Olympus Dam in Estes Park.

The Loveland Disaster Recovery Center at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, the former Agilent Technologies campus, opened at 10 a.m. to accept limited donations for use by flood evacuees. Donors are asked to restrict their gifts to non-perishable foods, toiletries, gift cards, bottled water and sports drinks.

Water and power engineers, working with private contractors, are working to keep stable the principal water line that connects the city's water treatment plant at Green Glade Reservoir with customers citywide.

Water managers say the water supply is safe - meeting stringent state and federal quality standards - and that with the line in stable condition the delivery system is reliable.


To ease stress on the water supply system, residents are asked to shut off outdoor irrigation systems now, especially since they are not needed. Reduced water consumption is also encouraged.

Learn more about Loveland Water and Power's flood emergency status at http://www.cityofloveland.org/index.aspx?page=166.

Public Works crews have maintained open passage on streets that were closed during the peak of the flood emergency. Wilson, Taft, Boise and St. Louis Avenues all carry traffic between the northern and southern sectors of the City that had been split by the flooding Big Thompson.

Meetings Saturday night of property owners in the flood zone covered by a mandatory evacuation order drew about 150 residents and business people to Bill Reed Middle School and Winona Elementary School.

Attendees received information from Loveland Fire Rescue Authority Chief Randy Mirowski, Police Chief Luke Hecker, Public Works Director Keith Reester and Building Division Director Tom Hawkinson about conditions in the flood zone, and plans for re-entry by property owners and residents.

Water levels remain too high in most of the flood zone, defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's 100-year flood maps, to allow people to return.

Building inspectors and fire safety officials need time to assess safety of structures in the flood zone before property owners can return.

Intentional removal of traffic cones, barricades and other traffic control devices has been a continuing problem throughout the city. Those devices almost always mark road hazards and damaged areas.

Removal of cones and barricades threatens safety of motorists and can cause further damage to roads already hard hit by floodwaters.

The regional flood response is now under the direction of a federal management team in place at the headquarters at the Poudre Fire Authority training center in Fort Collins, with local response work remaining under the control of City emergency managers.

Helicopter rescue operations for people stranded in Big Thompson Canyon, and the North Fork of the Big Thompson River northwest of Drake, will remain under way on Sunday as weather permits.

U.S. Highway 34 in Big Thompson Canyon was destroyed in dozens of locations between Loveland and Estes Park.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Sunday morning dialed back the releases of water from Olympus Dam to just over 1,000 cubic feet per second, less than a fourth of the flow from the dam on Friday.

The Disaster Recovery Center at the RMCIT, 815 Southwest 14th St., will open on a limited basis at 8 a.m. Monday morning, with information and resources for flood-affected residents and business owners available in a fully-staffed central location by Wednesday.

Information on the center's operation, including a newly assigned phone number, will be available on the City's Infoline at 962-2020.

The City will continue to post emergency information on the City website, including current information about road closures, at www.CityofLoveland.org . More information is available on the City Facebook and Twitter pages, 1610 AM radio and the City's Infoline at 962-2020.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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