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Colorado Congressional Delegation Urges President to Approve Emergency Declaration for Colorado Floods

Would Make Assistance Available for Response and Recovery Efforts

Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Colorado Congressional delegation sent a letter today to President Obama asking him to approve a request for an emergency declaration due to severe flooding across Colorado. If approved, the declaration would make crucial assistance available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for response and search and rescue efforts.

“Unlike typical flash floods in the West, which are characterized by quick, isolated deluges over a specific area, Colorado’s floods resulted from a massive amount of rain over a widespread area,” the delegation wrote in the letter. “In central Boulder alone, 8 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Governor Hickenlooper estimated that Colorado received the equivalent of 100 inches of snow in 24 hours. It is a staggering amount of precipitation, and an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain is predicted to fall by this evening.

“Governor Hickenlooper has determined that these floods are of sufficient severity and magnitude that additional supplementary federal assistance is necessary in order to support state and local officials in their search and rescue operations, and in their immediate response to this crisis,” the delegation added.

An emergency declaration would trigger federal disaster assistance to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from the flooding. The President’s approval would authorize FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts and to provide appropriate assistance to save lives and to protect property, public health, and safety.

September 12, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. President:

We write to support Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s request for an expedited emergency declaration in response to the enormously destructive flooding in Boulder, Larimer, and El Paso counties and other communities along Colorado’s Front Range.

Unlike typical flash floods in the West, which are characterized by quick, isolated deluges over a specific area, Colorado’s floods resulted from a massive amount of rain over a widespread area. In central Boulder alone, 8 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Governor Hickenlooper estimated that Colorado received the equivalent of 100 inches of snow in 24 hours. It is a staggering amount of precipitation, and an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain is predicted to fall tonight.

At this time, three people are confirmed dead and at least one is missing. Thousands of families are being evacuated, roads are closed and collapsing, dams have overflowed, and many Coloradans remain stranded. Waters continue to rise in Commerce City, Aurora, Longmont, Boulder and parts of Denver. Flooding is also underway in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Greeley. Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by washed-out roads and bridges, rockslides and mudslides, and deep pools of unstable water dammed by debris. Residents in Lyons and Jamestown are under a mandatory evacuation order, but are stranded because of washed out roads. Many are sheltering in elementary schools, but are unreachable by first responders. The town of Estes Park is badly flooded, and in the Fourmile Canyon area, homes and buildings have collapsed or washed away. In some parts of Boulder, water reached as high as first-floor windows; dive teams were dispatched after cars were seen floating.

Governor Hickenlooper has determined that these floods are of sufficient severity and magnitude that additional supplementary federal assistance is necessary in order to support state and local officials in their search and rescue operations, and in their immediate response to this crisis. We respectfully request your prompt consideration of the Governor’s September 12 request, and urge you to issue an expedited emergency declaration to assist our state in combating and recovering from the floods.

We thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this important request.

Sincerely,

By: Mike Saccone
 
Regional Offices

Northwest Region
P.O. Box 866
Clark, CO 80428
P: 303-650-7820

Northeast Region
801 8th Street
Suite 140A
Greeley, CO 80631
P: 970-356-5586

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West Slope Region
400 Rood Avenue
Suite 220
Grand Junction, CO 81501
P: 970-245-9553

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Denver Metro Area Region
999 18th Street
Suite 1525, North Tower
Denver, CO 80202
P: 303-650-7820

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Southern Colorado Region
107 West B Street
Pueblo, CO 81003
P: 719-542-1701

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Four Corners Region
954 East 2nd Avenue
Suite 106
Durango, CO 81301
P: 970-247-1047

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Pikes Peak Region
2880 International Circle
Suite 107
Colorado Springs, CO 80910
P: 719-471-3993

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San Luis Valley Region Office
609 Main Street
Suite 205
Alamosa, CO 81101
P: 719-589-2101

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