Spring was here. The sun had been out, and the snow had been melting. Richard Alex was finally able to make it out to the barn and start wiping down his prized 1946 Chevy for some summer cruising. There was only one problem: The Chevy was missing. Where it should have been stored in the barn was nothing but open space. The flood damage that had swept Colorado in the fall had claimed yet another victim and was complicating plans for summer almost six months later.
“At first I thought someone must’ve stolen it,” he said. “Then I saw the rear bumper sticking up out of the ground.”
High runoff from heavy rain that caused rare, high country flooding throughout Colorado had also caused underground erosion in an old surface mineral mine to open a cavern beneath the 1946 Chevy Coupe and swallow it whole.
To add insult to injury: The spare parts truck parked next to the vintage Chevy, worth about $500 in steel prices, was spared. “If it had happened under the truck, I probably would’ve just left it in there,” Alex said. Around Colorado, it was just another case of leftover flood damage taking typical summer plans and complicating them.
Throughout the mountains and the front-range, golf courses and parks sustained heavy damage during the floods. In cities hit hardest by flooding, plans for holidays have either been put on hold changed to accommodate the damages caused by floods in 2013.
The tenth hole on nearby Evergreen Golf Course is still covered with debris and sand from being flooded by Upper Bear Creek, which runs through the course. Community hearings are scheduled to rebuild the course bridges, which were wiped out in the flood. This is the case with many city parks and golf courses throughout the region.
The City of Louisville, Colorado has already cancelled plans for Fourth of July fireworks because of the extensive damage done to the golf course and public areas where the show is annually held. Many golf courses around Colorado lie next to rivers. Most have had to alter operations to accommodate damages. It is recommended that people check before making plans for trips as to which courses and parks are under repair.
It is important to be aware of debris removal and repair scams claiming to raise money for victims and public relief efforts. Those wishing to donate money or offer assistance are advised to research the projects and organizations that are currently providing or taking requests for such aid.
Several friends and neighbors were quick to help Richard Alex, and the roof was taken off the barn, which almost caved in due to the loss of support. A crane was used to lift the rare, classic car from the sinkhole; a difficult task considering the barn’s location on the mountainside. In the end, the Chevy was saved, and like many of the parks, courses, and buildings throughout Colorado which were damaged as a result of the floods, it has some complicated but feasible repairs to be planned and carried out this summer. A good body shop and some parts-scouring can produce the repairs on the vintage car. The remaining repairs to parks, courses, and buildings, however, are taking entire community efforts. In the past, Coloradans have always come together to overcome the effects of severe weather which accompanies life in the Rockies. So far, this effort is no different.
By Joseph Porter