Longmont residents quickly knew something was wrong when reports began coming across social media about being awakened by an emergency notification system calls at approximately 3 a.m. this morning notifying them that, after days of record rainfall, the swollen St Vrain River and Lefthand Creek were beginning to flood parts of the city.
St. Vrain Valley Schools began issuing school closure notices around 4:30 a.m. and Facebook began filling up with area flood pictures and updates. Residents, who later became trapped by road closures after they went to work, took to social media to have friends coach them on alternate routes around town found via city and media updates to get home safely. And very quickly, the hashtag #LongmontFlood began trending on Twitter.
Longmont's Vance Brand Airport manager Tim Barth reported that, in addition to flooding encroaching the airport grounds, flooding hangars and buckling the newly completed airport taxiway, fish were seen swimming in the waters at the entrance to the airport. Airport management and staff also became rescuers for Longmont airport neighbors who's homes were flooding.
Skyline High School in eastern Longmont became a school bus parking lot around noon when buses and district vehicles began filling it's empty parking spaces after their usual southside storage lot became flooded and the city became separated into two portions divided by flood waters.
Longmont City Council members and city staffers became mobile command center phone bankers and resources to help alleviate the flood of calls to the city 911 system as Longmont's city manager declared a state of emergency. One councilwoman reported basement well flooding from the ground level up since the rains began a few days ago and was relieved when a friend offered up a portable sump pump in the wee hours of the morning and her family could finally get some rest from bailing gallons of water out of her basement.
And the word "Floodplain" became the catch-phrase of the day as people were now worried whether they actually lived in one. While some wondered whether a recently completed drainage project that "shrunk the city floodplain" was a foretelling to today's event.
Confusion also became widespread over whether it was safe to drink the city water as swamped Lyons, devastated by flooding shut down their water source and enacted a boil order.
A citywide curfew has also been enacted in areas of flooding and evacuation from 10 p.m tonight until 6 a.m. tomorrow. Stay tuned to continued updates from the City of Longmont regarding emergency information and changing road closures here: http://www.ci.longmont.co.us/emergency.htm and also the Longmont Fire, Police and OEM page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LongmontFirePoliceOEM
Longmont filmmaker Payton Peterson recorded this video compilation of today's #LongmontFlood http://youtu.be/1HShXhJMQdA