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25th Anniversary of 1997 Spring Creek Flood

Posted on: Jul-26-2022

July 28 marks 25 years since Spring Creek flooded, creating Fort Collins’ worst natural disaster to date. The creek flooded following 14.5 inches of rainfall in 31 hours. Five residents lost their lives, a building exploded, much of the CSU campus was flooded, a train derailed and 400 people were rescued from the floodwaters.

Across the city, more than $200 million in damages were attributed to the storm, but the impact could have been far worse if Fort Collins Utilities had not invested more than $5 million in stormwater improvements in the Spring Creek basin in the early 1990s.

July and August are considered “monsoon” season and can generate large thunderstorms with heavy rain and increased flooding risk. The recent tragic flash flood in the Crystal Mountain and Buckhorn Canyon area is just one example of flooding in Northern Colorado.

Urban and flash flooding also are possible throughout Fort Collins. While Utilities continues to improve the city’s stormwater systems, some risk remains.

Important flood safety reminders:

  • Know the flood risk where you live, work and play.
  • Don’t enter, drive, walk or bike through floodwaters.
  • Know before you go: be location and weather aware.
  • Knowledge is power! Stay informed during a flood.


For more information, visit, email, call 970-221-2900 or V/TDD 711.

  • Ken Sampley, Director, Civil Engineering
  • 970-224-6021
  • Marsha Hilmes-Robinson, Civil Engineer III
  • 970-224-6036

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Did You Know?

Small leaks and drips add up. Don't drip and drive.

Fort Collins Utilities is a community-owned utility that manages four essential services – Light & Power, Water, Wastewater and Stormwater.

Shrubs and trees require less water than bluegrass, so it's best to water them separately.