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Flood Safety and Preparedness
Fort Collins is vulnerable to river and stream flooding, flash floods and urban street flooding.
Flooding along rivers is a natural and inevitable element of nature. Some floods occur seasonally when spring rains and melting snow fill river basins too quickly.
Most flash floods are caused by slow-moving thunderstorms or thunderstorms repeatedly moving over the same area.
Urban street flooding occurs when land is converted to roads or parking lots and loses its ability to absorb rainfall. Urbanization increases runoff two to six times over what would occur on natural terrain and can cause streets to become swift-moving rivers during rainfall.
To increase safety, the Fort Collins Utilities Flood Warning System provides information and emergency services. The Office of Emergency Management describes flood risk and preparation.
Know How to Protect Your Property and Family
|Before a Flood||During a Flood||After a Flood|
|Purchase flood insurance.||Do not drive through floodwater.||Check for structural damage to your building.|
|Make an emergency plan.||Move to upper floors of your home or climb to higher ground.||Document all damages.|
|Document your belongings.||Don't walk through flowing water.||Remove all wet items.|
|Store valuable items (computers, family photos, heirlooms, etc.) at higher locations in your home.||Listen for emergency updates.||Get a floodplain use permit and a building permit before making any repairs.|
|Sign-up for emergency messages at leta911.org.||Turn off utilities at the main power switch and turn off gas.||Contact your insurance agent and file a flood insurance claim.|
The 1997 Spring Creek Flood was the worst disaster in Fort Collins.
- Fort Collins Flood Safety Tips (5:42)
- Reflections on the 1997 Spring Creek Flood (6:11)
- 1997 Flood – CSU History Class Project (19:15)
- Volunteers vs. Extreme Weather – The CoCoRahS Story: From a Deadly flood in 1997, to a life-saving network of weather watchers in 2013. (Courtesy THE CROWD & THE CLOUD, CrowdAndCloud.org, made possible by NSF, the National Science Foundation. (12:13)
- Turn Around and Don't Drown (National Weather Service PSA, 0:52)
- Fort Collins Flood Mitigation Efforts (11:42)
- Building Smart Down by the River (3:22)
- The State Climatologist: Honest Broker of Information (3:48)
- Tools for Flood Resilience: Lessons from Fort Collins (4:19)
- Fort Collins' Flood Warning System (12:26)
- Fort Collins' Flood of 1997 (9:49)
- Poudre River Restoration (3:23)
- Water's Fury (21:36)
- Moving Water: Adventure or Danger? (14:23)
*Source: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes