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Too much of a good thing: Flooding still impacting Denver area days after torrential downpour

Heavy rain lets up but scattered showers possible Saturday and Sunday
Posted: 12:13 PM, May 13, 2023
Updated: 2023-05-14 12:13:09-04
Colorado Weather

DENVER — Two straight days of non-stop rain last week damaged roads, trails and state parks in the Denver metro area and is still impacting parts of the Front Range during what is considered the city's wettest month.

On Saturday, state health officials announced that they are investigating a flood at the Suncor refinery in Commerce City after the company notified them that stormwater was going into the nearby Burlington Ditch.

Testing done by Suncor found low concentrations of benzene in the ditch, which are below permitted levels, according to health officials. They do not believe there is a risk to public health or drinking water.

Also on Saturday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said that the east and west boat ramps at Cherry Creek State Park will be closed after flooding damaged a road in the park. The park said Sunday the boat ramps will remain closed, but small hand launched vessels will be allowed.

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Road damaged at Cherry Creek State Park due to flooding.

The deluge began on Wednesday and didn’t let up until Friday. Flooded streets stranded drivers and damaged several roads in several places along the Front Range. The heavy rainfall caused some creeks to burst their banks, closing trails and roads.

More than 20 streets in Adams County were hit by floods and are closed due to damage. Adams County trails are also closed. Authorities believe the damage and impact to the county is severe.

Adams County flooding

Local News

All Adams County trails and dozens of roads closed due to flooding, damage

Danielle Kreutter
9:56 PM, May 12, 2023

Other cities and counties saw several road closures as crews assessed and repaired the damage caused by flooded streets. Weld County residents were dealing with at least 23 road closures on Friday. And in Arapahoe County, several roads were damaged and are being repaired.

Friday morning, a man was rescued from flood waters near 56th Ave. and Jackson Gap St. in Aurora. The man was reportedly stranded inside his truck which was flooded up above the threshold of the doors and the man inside. Stranded vehicles were seen in other parts of the metro area as well.

AIRTRACKER7 flew over several spots from across the metro to see what roads looked like and the aerial shots did not disappoint. There was major flooding on 114th Ave. between Washington and York Street in Thornton and the Cherry Creek bike path in Denver.

AIRTRACKER7 takes to the sky after rains leave flood streets

More than four inches of rain fell in Denver over three days, setting a new daily rainfall record for the city on Thursday. Denver International Airport reported 2.92 inches which broke the previous record of 1.55 inches set back in 2011.

May is considered Denver’s wettest month of the year. The monthly mean for precipitation is 2.12 inches. The wettest May in Denver history (and wettest month ever) brought 8.57 inches of precipitation in 1876 — a record the city may come close to breaking come June 1.

The system that dumped all that rain moved out to the east of Colorado Saturday, but there is still a chance for more rain this weekend—but nothing like what fell on Thursday. A few scattered showers will be possible on Saturday and likely on Mother's Day.

There were no reported major injuries or fatalities during the three-day event. The extent of damage and the total cost caused by the floods is still unknown.

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