BOULDER Colo.– It’s Monday and it’s been raining on and off, but mostly on, here for a six days. The forecast for today is rain. It’s supposed to let up tomorrow.
The region has entered the rescue, relocation and clean up phase of what Don DeLillo might call its 2013 carbon-born flood event — 500-year level rains the steadily came down on and ran off wildfire-scorched Rocky Mountain earth.
Some of the most popular reading in town is Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management’s website.
This morning, the site leads with how to flag down a helicopter:
On Monday, Sept. 16, we anticipate that weather will be clear enough to allow emergency personnel to continue rescue efforts by helicopter. Residents who are in the impacted flood areas and need to be evacuated by air can signal helicopters passing overhead by:
▪ Waving a large, light colored cloth or sheet
▪ Placing a large, light colored cloth or sheet on the roof of the house
▪ Waving flares
▪ Using mirrors to reflect/flash sunlight
▪ Lighting safe/controlled signal fires
▪ Residents are being asked to have a “go-bag” prepared to take with them that contains any medications, clothes and/or other necessary items
Residents should stand a safe distance away from where the helicopter will be landing. Rescue personnel will signal residents when it is safe to approach the aircraft.
In cafes and in the streets, residents are scanning long lists from the emergency site of street names, looking to see what’s been closed and opened and washed out and broken to pieces for months to come.
“Lee Hill Drive remains closed at 5th Street. No unauthorized vehicles will be allowed to travel west into the foothills.”
Mostly it doesn’t come in sentence form:
– Hwy 7 at Mile Marker 24
– Co Rd. 7 from Middle Fork to Plateau
– 7th St and Pleasant
– 9th Street – Intersection at Balsam closed
– 36 Hwy at Neva – Neva to Lyons
– 36 Hwy from Lyons into Larimer County
– 39th from Ogallala to Plateau
– 39th from Neva to Nebo
It goes on like that for a full web page.
There’s also a map.
Town clean-up text is new and is beginning to take up more real estate at the site. Where to drop off ruined furniture. How to clean up flood debris. How not to clean up flood debris.
Because some of the flood waters may be contaminated with bacteria and waste, individuals cleaning out both public and private property are encouraged to use basic precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and gloves to avoid skin contact and eye protection.
Respiratory protection is also advisable, particularly if the cleanup occurs after materials have dried out.
A disposable particulate respirator that has been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will offer some protection if properly worn.
Commonly available one-strap paper dust masks, which are designed to keep larger particles out of the nose and mouth, typically offer little protection.
Bandanas (wet or dry) tied over the mouth and nose over little to no protection.
Filter material rated “N95” will capture at least 95 percent of very small particles, while filter material rated “P100” filters out at least 99.97 percent.
The following websites provide additional references and information:
Colorado Counties Inc. – http://www.ccionline.org/
Solid Waste Facilities List – http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/lflist.pdf
In Louisville on Saturday at an ice cream place, one of the moms who was chaperoning the 85 Fireside Elementary fifth graders trapped for four days on an environmental retreat near wiped out Jamestown in the mountains just north west of Boulder, said the group had lots of food the whole time, that the military Chinook helicopters that rescued them Saturday landed in a flash and hustled them all on and into the air in minutes.
“Let’s go. Now!”
The soldiers told her they had a lot of people to rescue. She said the kids were strapped in and the helicopter doors remained open, the soaked ground passing below them all in a blur.
“We landed at Boulder airport about ten minutes after we climbed into the helicopters,” she said, shaking her head with disbelief. “Amazing.”
[ Top image: Boulder Creek bike path. ]