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Posts Tagged ‘Hickenlooper’

Disaster Emergency Declared for Colorado Gold King Mine Release

Posted by feww on August 11, 2015

Colorado Governor declares disaster emergency for Gold King Mine release

Gov. Hickenlooper has issued an Executive Order declaring a state of disaster emergency due to the Gold King Mine release and resulting impacts to downstream waters.

Workers employed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) triggered a breach at the Gold King Mine outside Silverton in San Juan County on August 5, 2015. The breach released a plume of more than three million gallons of water containing potentially harmful contaminants into Cement Creek, which flowed into the Animas River and continued downstream, according to a statement released by the governor’s office.

Elements contained in the plume turned the water a striking mustard-yellow, and graphic images of the discolored water have contributed to community concern about river impacts and water quality. The Southern Ute Tribe, the counties of La Plata and San Juan, the City of Durango, and the Town of Silverton all declared disaster emergencies, highlighting the gravity and severity of impacts to Cement Creek, the Animas River, the San Juan River, and downstream waters. Local authorities have closed the affected rivers to all uses, causing significant local economic impacts. The extreme flow rate of the plume caused significant damage to the Cement Creek stream bed resulting in sedimentation uptake and downstream deposits in both Cement Creek and the Animas River. All of these impacts require emergency action by the Southern Ute Tribe, the State of Colorado, and local officials to avert loss of life, injury, danger or damage, including but not limited to unknown economic, financial and natural resources impacts.  The full Executive Order is attached here.

 The Executive Order will last for 30 days unless extended by the governor.

cementcreek -
Massive waste spill “accidentally released” by EPA investigators turns river in Colorado bright orange. Image source: Earth Justice

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Tens of Thousands Evacuated as Colorado Floods Worsen

Posted by feww on September 13, 2013

“biblical rainfall amounts” trigger historic  flooding along Colorado’s Front Range mountain

Flash Flood Warnings remained in effect for much of eastern and northern Colorado including the entire Denver/Boulder metropolitan area, with a population of more than 3 million.

The National Weather Service issued an urgent bulletin at 9:41am on Thursday that expressed the scale of the threat: “Major flooding/flash flooding event underway at this time with biblical rainfall amounts reported in many areas in/near the foothills.”

Boulder was pounded with more than 7 inches of rain in 24 hours, which shattered the town’s 95-year rainfall record.

“This is not an ordinary day. It is not an ordinary disaster,” said Boulder County Sheriff.

  • Cascading floodwaters from Boulder Canyon above the city forced the evacuation of more than 8,000 Boulder residences.
  • The enclave of Jamestown north of Boulder was completely evacuated.
  • Entire town of Eldorado Springs in south Boulder County were ordered to evacuate due to the threats of rising waters and mudslide.

coal creek canyon - credit Jefferson County Sheriff
Coal Creek Canyon. Photo credit: Jefferson County Sheriff. More images…

Near the town of Lyons, St. Vrain River jumped its banks, and a dam failed near Pinewood Springs, isolating the town, said a report.

In Longmont (population: ~ 88,000) about 14 miles northeast of Boulder, St. Vrain Creek again overflowed its banks, inundating the main roads and dividing the city.

  • At least  7,000 residences in Longmont were under mandatory evacuation orders.

The University of Colorado campus in Boulder was one of  the hardest hit areas. More than 500 hundred students and staff members were ordered evacuated, as devastating floodwaters damaged a quarter of the campus buildings, officials said.

Colorado Governor Hickenlooper declared a disaster for the flooded areas.

“We have declared a disaster for the flooded areas and are requesting emergency declaration from FEMA for search and rescue and emergency protection and other support,” said Hickenlooper. “We want to get something in front of President Obama as rapidly as possible.”

“The State Emergency Center has been activated to a Level 3 category of alert or action 24/7. So they will be providing direct resources across the state to the counties affected by the flooding.”

The White House signed a federal emergency declaration Thursday night.

Mudslides and rockslides have blocked parts of U.S. 6, Boulder Canyon, Colorado 14 and U.S. 287, said the Denver Post. Lefthand Canyon was reportedly blocked by multiple slides.

The disaster has claimed at least three lives, but authorities expect the toll to rise.

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Deadly Flooding Forces Thousands of Evacuations in Colorado

Posted by feww on September 13, 2013

Disaster declared in flooded areas: Gov. Hickenlooper

“We’ll see what the data tells us but this could easily be a 50 or 100-year flood,” said Hickenlooper.

Disastrous flooding has caused substantial damage in parts of three Front Range counties and the governor has declared a state of emergency in Boulder County. Thousands of people have been evacuated, however, emergency crews are unable to reach residents in some towns.

Floodwaters have cut off major highways, isolated mountain towns and inundated the main campus of the University of Colorado, damaging tens of buildings, officials said.

More than 500 students and staff members were ordered evacuated.

flooding in Colo
Highway 72 is washed out in Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado. Photo credit: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

“We have declared a disaster for the flooded areas and are requesting emergency declaration from FEMA for search and rescue and emergency protection and other support,” said Hickenlooper. “We want to get something in front of President Obama as rapidly as possible.”

“The State Emergency Center has been activated to a Level 3 category of alert or action 24/7. So they will be providing direct resources across the state to the counties affected by the flooding.”

“Part of the problem with us is not that we don’t have the equipment or the manpower it’s just the conditions haven’t permitted it. We couldn’t get up the valleys,” said Hickenlooper.

“This is completely different from the fires and yet preparation means trying to anticipate what you don’t expect. We’ve been trying to train across the state for unexpected eventualities, things that we would never expect to happen. I’m not sure that anyone laid out a scenario where Boulder County and every single county from Coal Creek to the St. Vrain got close to 8 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.” Hickenlooper said.

Not Your Ordinary Disaster

“This is not your ordinary disaster,” said Joe Pelle, the sheriff of Boulder County, where two of the deaths occurred. “All the preparation in the world, all the want-to in the world, can’t put people up those canyons while debris and walls of water are coming down.”

A message posted on the university’s Web site Thursday warned: “Wall of water coming down Boulder Canyon. STAY AWAY FROM BOULDER CREEK.”

Multiple Flash Flood Warnings, Flood Warnings and Flood Watches are in effect across Colorado, said National Weather Service (NWS).

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Disaster Emergency Declared for El Paso County, CO

Posted by feww on August 13, 2013

Hickenlooper declares disaster emergency due to flooding in El Paso County

Gov. John Hickenlooper has declared a disaster emergency related to devastating floods in El Paso County, said a statement posted on his website.

El Paso County and the City of Manitou Springs on Aug. 10 requested the state assistance. The governor gave verbal approval on the same day.

  • The governor also activated the State Emergency Operations Plan to address the flooding.
  • The governor further authorized the Colorado National Guard to assist with search and rescue missions in the area, if necessary, as more rain continues to fall.

Destructive floods have devastated areas near the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest burn scars,  said a report.

“Rain has pounded the county throughout the last several weeks, taking a deadly turn Friday after rain and mud spilled onto Highway 24 and into Manitou Springs. One man was killed, three were initially unaccounted for, and multiple people reported nearly being swept away.”

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State of Disaster Declared for Colorado’s Deadly Fire

Posted by feww on June 13, 2012

High Park Fire declared a disaster

Gov Hickenlooper has signed an executive order declaring High Park Fire in Larimer County a disaster area. “The High Park Fire’s proximity to numerous homes, property, and critical infrastructure poses an imminent danger to life and property,” the Executive Order said.

The large fire, which has already consumed about 45,000 acres and more than 120 structures, is about 15 miles west of Fort Collins. The blaze is about 5% contained and continues to grow.

Inciweb said:

The western flank of the fire is active and continues to be an area of concern, particularly as it moves into an area that contains 70 percent beetle killed trees. In addition, the northwest portion of the fire is actively burning …

New evacuation order is in place for Pingree Park Road, Hourglass and Comanche reservoirs, east on Buckhorn Road up to and including Pennock Pass, NE to junction with Stove Prairie and Hwy 14; West to junction with Highway 15 and Pingree Park Road.

General evacuation area runs west of Horsetooth Reservoir, north of Masonville, east of Pennock Pass and south of Hwy 14. Additional evacuation area includes area north of Hwy 14 from Hewlitt Gulch to 287 and north to Eagles Nest. For more specific orders see below.

Evacuation orders remain in place for the following areas:

-Pre-evacuation alerts have been sent to Glacier View residents but no evacuation orders have been issued.

-North of County Road 38E, from Horsetooth Reservoir to Redstone Canyon to Lory State park.

-Bonner Peaks subdivision.

-County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4-1 mile.

-CR27E to Bellvue.

-Areas south and west of Bellvue to include the Lory State Park area, the Redstone Canyon area and Buckhorn Road up to the Stove Prairie School.

-Poudre Canyon from MM111 to MM118 on Highway 14. This means Poudre Canyon from Stove Prairie to MM118 is under mandatory evacuations. RESIDENTS OF POUDRE CANYON WHO HAVE NOT YET LEFT ARE ASKED TO LEAVE NOW.

-The area between CR27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road.

-South on CR44H 3 miles to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road Paradise Park Road, Moose Horn Lane, Magic Lane and Spencer Mountain Road.

-Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000-block of Old Flowers Road.

-Stove Prairie Road north along County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off of it.

-Hewlitt Gulch, King’s Canyon area and Boyd Gulch Road.

Approximately 2,600 notifications (contacts, not residents) have been sent for evacuations on this fire.

At least one person is known to have died in the fire so far. The body of a woman was found in the ashes of her remote cabin near the Roosevelt National Forest.  Her death is reportedly the state’s fourth wildfire fatality in 2012.

Other Wildfires

  • New Mexico.  Gov. Martinez has declared a State of Emergency for Lincoln County due to the Little Bear Fire, the Governor’s Office said.
    • As of June 12, 2012 – 3 pm, the blaze located in Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln National Forest, which includes White Mountain Wilderness, had consumed more than 36,000 acres, with about a third contained.
    • The fierce fire has so far destroyed 234 structures including 224 residential structures and 10 outbuildings, NM fire info reported.
    • Evacuations; “All campgrounds west of Bonito Lake; subdivisions of Villa Madonna, Enchanted Forest, Nogal Canyon (Forest Road 400, campground and summer homes), Angus, Sierra Vista, Sonterra (1, 2 and 3), Copper Canyon, and Loma Grande; Eagle Lakes Campground, Eagle Creek summer homes, Ski Run Road (State Highway 532) at mile marker 3, State Highway 48 to Capitan, and State Highway 37 to Highway 380 and Ski Apache. This list may not be all inclusive.” Inciweb reported.

The Latest Little Bear Fire Map.  The blaze is located in Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln National Forest, including White Mountain Wilderness.

Other Disasters, Significant Events

  • Pennsylvania, USA.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated three counties in Pennsylvania as a agricultural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by freezing temperatures that occurred March – April 2012. The disaster areas are
    • Primary disaster area: Erie County.
    • Contiguous disaster areas:  Crawford and Warren counties.
  • Ohio. Ashtabula County in the state of Ohio was added to declaration list because it’s contiguous.
  • New York.  Chautauqua County in New York was also declared a disaster area because it’s contiguous.
  • Tennessee.   USDA has designated eight counties in Tennessee as agricultural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by a freeze that occurred April 7-24, 2012.
    • Primary disaster areas:  Hancock and Hawkins counties.
    • Contiguous disaster areas:  Claiborne, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Sullivan and Washington counties.
  • Virginia. The following counties in Virginia were also designated as disaster areas because they’re contiguous: Lee and Scott counties.
  • Texas, USA.   At least 123 bottlenose dolphins became stranded along the Texas coast since November 2011, of which 119 died, NOAA reported.
    • The deaths are regarded as an “Unusual Mortality Event (UME)”
    • Algae blooms and oil pollution, especially the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, are said to be among possible causes.
    • Previous UMEs in the Gulf have been attributed to:
      • biotoxins (53%)
      • infectious diseases (7%)
      • unknown causes (40%)
    • “15 UMEs have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico (11 of which involved cetaceans; the remaining 4 were specific to manatees only) since 1991, when the marine mammal UME program was established, to the present. There have been 55 formally recognized UMEs in the U.S.” NOAA reported.
    • The 2010-2012 Cetacean Unusual Mortality Event in Northern Gulf of Mexico “involves 745 Cetacean (whales, dolphins and porpoises) strandings in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (5% stranded alive and 95% stranded dead).”

Bottlenose Dolphins
(Tursiops truncatus).  Photo: NOAA/NMFS-SWFSC

[NOTE: An unusual mortality event (UME) is defined under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as, “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.”]

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Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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