Sept 2013 – Colorado’s Thousand-Year Flood

Just a few months ago, Boulder, Colorado was in the grip of yet another drought, and the state itself experienced its worst wildfire on record earlier this year. But after days of heavy rainfall that the National Weather Service called “biblical,” drought and fire is the last thing that Boulder and the rest of the northern Front Range of Colorado has to worry about.

On average Boulder receives about 1.7 inches of rain during the month of September. As of 7 AM on September 16, Boulder had received 17.17 inches of rain so far in the month, smashing the all-time record of 9.59 inches set in May of 1995. 9.08 inches fell on Sept. 12, nearly doubling the previous daily record of 4.80 inches set on July 31, 1919. In fact, Boulder has already broken its yearly record for precipitation—with more than three months left in the year, and the rain still falling.

Parts of Boulder are experiencing a 1-in-1,000 year flood. That doesn’t literally mean that the kind of rainfall seen over the past week only occurs once in a millennium. Rather, it means that a flood of this magnitude only has a 0.1% chance of happening in a given year. This is historically bad luck, due in part to the combination of an active, drenching Southwest monsoon and a low pressure area that trapped over the region. A tropical air mass—unusual in the dry Rocky Mountains—is slowly being hauled across the Front Range by weak southwesterly winds. This is known as an orographic lift, which is converting the incredibly moist air into sheets and sheets of rainfall.

Sept 2013 – Two major storms lash Mexico, 41 dead amid ‘historic’ floods

(Reuters) – Two powerful storms pummeled Mexico as they converged from the Pacific and the Gulf on Monday, killing at least 41 people and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands amid some of the worst flooding in decades.

Tropical Depression Ingrid battered Mexico’s northern Gulf coast, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Manuel lashed the Pacific coast, inundating the popular beach resort of Acapulco, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Even as they weakened, the storms continued to unleash massive rains that have killed more than three dozen people in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan and Oaxaca, national emergency services said.

In the popular Pacific resort of Acapulco alone, at least 21 people were killed as buildings collapsed and roads were transformed into raging rivers, said Constantino Gonzalez, an official with Guerrero state emergency services.

“Unfortunately, the majority of the deaths have occurred here in Acapulco due to landslides that completely buried homes,” said Gonzalez.

Officials said thousands of tourists were stranded due to canceled flights and closed highways.

State oil monopoly Pemex said it had evacuated three oil platforms and halted drilling at some wells on land due to the storms.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, who led Mexican independence day celebrations in Mexico City on Monday, was set to inspect storm damage in Guerrero state.

HISTORIC DESTRUCTION

“The storms have affected two-thirds of the entire national territory,” the interior minister, Miguel Osorio Chong, said at a news conference in Mexico City.

Chong called the flooding “historic” and said the city of Acapulco had sustained major damage. The resort’s international airport remained closed due to power failure, as were two major highways, in the wake of Manuel.

In Veracruz state, along Mexico’s Gulf coast, 12 people died on Monday after their bus and two nearby homes were buried by a mountain landslide near the town of Xaltepec, Governor Javier Duarte told reporters.

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