You are here

Flooding in Colorado

Share to
  • Damaging Deluge

    Share to
    Floodwaters and accumulated debris on the South Platte River undercut a bridge.
    Damaging Deluge
  • Flash Flood, Big Thompson River
  • Lawn Lake Dam Failure, 1982.



Ruth M. Alexander, “2013 Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Project: Final Report” (Fort Collins: Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection, Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University Libraries, 2015).

Thomas G. Andrews, Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).

Tim P. Barnett et al. “Human-Induced Changes in the Hydrology of the Western United States,” Science 319 (February 2008).

City of Fort Collins, “Gustav Swanson Natural Area,” n.d.

Terri Cook, “Disaster strikes along Colorado’s Front Range,” EARTH Magazine, January 20, 2014.

Robert Follansbee and Edward E. Jones, The Arkansas River Flood of June 3–5, 1921, US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 487 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1922).

Robert Follansbee and Leon R. Sawyer, Floods in Colorado, US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 997 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1948).

Fort Collins—July 28, 1997,” Weather and Climate Impact Assessment Science Program, 2007.

P. Frich et al., “Observed coherent changes in climatic extremes during the second half of the twentieth century,” Climate Research 19 (January 2002).

Neil S. Grigg et al., “Fort Collins Flood 1997: Comprehensive View of an Extreme Event,” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 125 (September/October 1999).

Gustav Swanson Natural Area,” City of Fort Collins, n.d.

Sarah Hines, “Our Relationship with a Dynamic Landscape: Understanding the 2013 Northern Colorado Flood,” Science You Can Use Bulletin (March/April 2014).

Robert D. Jarrett and John E. Costa, Hydrology, Geomorphology, and Dam-Break Modeling of the July 15, 1982 Lawn Lake Dame and Cascade Lake Dam Failures, Larimer County, Colorado, US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1369 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1986).

Kenneth Jessen, “Lawn Lake dam break inundated Estes Park,” Loveland Reporter-Herald, March 14, 2014.

James C. Knox, “Large increase in flood magnitude in response to modest changes in climate,” Nature 361 (February 1993).

James C. Knox, “Sensitivity of modern and Holocene floods to climate change,” Quaternary Science Reviews 19, no. 1 (2000).

H. F. Matthai, Floods of June 1965 in South Platte River Basin, Colorado, US Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1850-B (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1969).

David G. McComb, Big Thompson: Profile of a Natural Disaster (Boulder, CO: Pruett, 1980).

Gerald A. Meehl et al., “Understanding future patterns of increased precipitation intensity in climate model simulations,” Geophysical Research Letters 32 (September 2005).

P.C.D. Milly et al., “Increasing risk of great floods in a changing climate,” Nature 415 (January 2002).

Seung-Ki Min et al., “Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes,” Nature 470 (February 2011).

 “South Platte & Arkansas Basins: June 14–20, 1965,” Weather and Climate Impact Assessment Science Program, 2007.

A. E. Sprague, “My First Visit to Estes Park,” Manuscript Collection 597, Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Center, History Colorado.

A. E. Sprague, “Pioneering on the Big Thompson and in Estes Park,” Colorado Magazine 12 (May 1935).

A. E. Sprague, “Transportation,” Manuscript Collection 597, Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Collection, History Colorado.

Abner E. Sprague, My Pioneer Life: The Memoirs of Abner E. Sprague (Estes Park, CO: Rocky Mountain Nature Association, 1999).

Claudia Tebaldi et al., “Going to the Extremes: An Intercomparison of Model-Simulated Historical and Future Change in Extreme Events,” Climatic Change 79 (2006).

Kevin E. Trenberth et al., “Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change,” in Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ed. S.D. Solomon et al. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

US Army Corp of Engineers, Report on the Floods of June 1965—South Platte River Basin, Colorado and Nebraska (Omaha: US Army Engineer District, 1967).

US Army Corps of Engineers, “Bear Creek Dam and Lake,” n.d.

US Army Corps of Engineers, “Chatfield Dam and Lake,” n.d.

US Army Corps of Engineers, “Cherry Creek Dam and Lake,” n.d.

US Census Bureau, “Colorado – Resident Population and Apportionment of US Representatives,” n.d.

Maarten K. Van Aalst, “The impacts of climate change on the risk of natural disasters,” Disasters 30, no. 1 (2006).

Elliott West, The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998).

Will Wright, “Accelerating Waters: An Anthropocene History of Colorado’s 1976 Big Thompson Flood,” (Master’s thesis, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 2016).

Additional Information: 

Karen M. O’Neill, Rivers by Design: State Power and the Origins of US Flood Control (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006).

Jared Orsi, Hazardous Metropolis: Flooding and Urban Ecology in Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).

Ted Steinberg, Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).