(CBS4)– Concerns after last year’s record wildfire year in Colorado are shifting to flooding during severe weather season. In 2013, severe flooding ravaged parts of Colorado after wildfires.
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The Big Thompson River overflowed its banks, causing millions of dollars in damage in Larimer, Boulder and Weld counties. All of Colorado’s 64 counties have areas that are prone to flooding.
A flash flood is a dangerous, sudden rise of water along a river or creek, in a canyon or over a stretch of land that is normally dry.
They’re most often caused by heavy rain, but can also be a result of a dam break or a clog in the flow of water along a stream, such as an ice jam. Flash floods are also very common in and around burn scars after a wildfire. Areas experiencing drought conditions are also prone to flash floods.
River flooding is different from a flash flood because it can be predicted, sometimes up to several days in advance. They are usually caused by heavy rain or rapid snowmelt.READ MORE: On National Latina Equal Pay Day, Latino Worker In Colorado Shares 'Frustrating' Experiences
In the major flood event of September 2013, we saw both types of flooding in Colorado. It started as a flash flood in the foothills and along Interstate 25, then turned into river flooding as waters traveled along Front Range waterways and into the South Platte River in northeast Colorado.
Most flood fatalities are caused by flash floods, and nearly half of all deaths are vehicle-related. A hidden danger when attempting to cross a flooded road is not knowing if the pavement beneath the water has been washed away.
Most vehicles can be carried by a foot or two of swiftly moving water. The force of water is so powerful that by the time a driver realizes they have made a mistake by attempting to cross a flooded road, it’s usually too late.MORE NEWS: 'This Is A Wakeup Call': Colorado Governor Says State Is Running Low On ICU Beds Due To COVID Cases
This year, the focus is on the burn scars from the Cameron Peak, Calwood and East Troublesome fires.