The Emperor’s New Flood Gauge

There must be federal money to be had in a big flood, because the flood information being released by the City of Fort Collins is utter nonsense.

According to the National Weather Service, the Poudre reached 14.56 feet — nearly seven times its average during the previous four days — at 8:15 a.m. Friday. At that peak, more than 420,000 gallons of water passed a stream gauge every second.

City officials says that the Poudre’s flow through the city has decreased to less than 9,000 cubic feet per second — or about 67,000 gallons per second. The city hasn’t used Poudre River water in its drinking water system since Sept. 6, and advises people not to play in or drink untreated flood water.

North Fort Collins shelter to open at 3 p.m. as bridges remain closed | The Coloradoan |

According to the city, the flow is down 85% since the peak.

I surveyed and photographed most of the Poudre’s 15 mile path through Fort Collins today, and there is no evidence that water was ever more than a few inches higher than it is now. No mud, no debris, no foliage damage more than a few inches above the current water line.

ScreenHunter_537 Sep. 13 14.57 ScreenHunter_536 Sep. 13 14.56

This next photo shows mud several inches above the current water line.

ScreenHunter_529 Sep. 13 10.12

The next photo is of a different drainage – Spring Creek. It is obvious that the high water mark was a couple of feet higher than the current level, but there is no similar evidence on the Poudre.

ScreenHunter_535 Sep. 13 14.56

The city’s claims about the Poudre are either due to instrumentation error, or somebody is making stuff up. The flood was nowhere near as big as the city is claiming.

About stevengoddard

Just having fun
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9 Responses to The Emperor’s New Flood Gauge

  1. Chuck says:

    I just received an alert on my phone stating the Rio Grande is going to flood overnight through Albuquerque possibly near flood stage at 8 feet. I think i’ll ride my bike over to the bike bridge and see…

  2. The Ol' Seadog. says:

    They are showing your floods on BBC TV. Hope you and yours are OK. Keep Safe!

  3. Jimbo says:

    Fed help?

  4. GeologyJim says:

    Anytime they start using unconventional units — — — gallons per second — — — you can be certain there’s a political component to the media release.

    Same when some “toxic release” is described in terms of “percent above federal standards”, I know it’s total spin. If the standard is 2 ppb and the analytical data is 3 ppb, it’s still infinitessimal! And typically, they don’t even mention the actual compound that was measured.

    BS red-flag

  5. Andy DC says:

    The photos definitely show a Biblical, unprecedented, exceptional, one in billion year droughtflood that happens everytime a slow moving thunderstorm sits over any given place. Happens somewhere or another every summer.

  6. Scott says:

    Hi Steve – Fossil Creek looks the same as Spring Creek–aka nothing bigger than from normal big rains. The river is large because of the mountain runoff, but I haven’t seen it myself (like you have), so I can’t comment on its flood capabilities.


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