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Remembering the Big Thompson Flood 36 Years Later [VIDEO]

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Not to make light of any of the recent disasters that have happened around our great state, but as time goes by it is easy to forget about the worst natural disaster in Colorado history. It was 36 years ago today on July 31st, 1976 that the Big Thompson River flooded and took 144 peoples lives. 

It was supposed to be a year of monument for the state that was celebrating it’s 100th birthday, instead 1976 will be forever tied to the worst natural disaster in Colorado’s history. the Big Thompson Canyon was the site of a devastating flash flood that swept down the steep and narrow canyon, claiming the lives of 144 people, 5 of whom were never found. This flood was triggered by a nearly stationary thunderstorm near the upper section of the canyon that dumped 12 inches of rain in less than 4 hours (more than 3/4 of the average annual rainfall for the area). Little rain fell over the lower section of the canyon, where many of the victims were.

Around 9 p.m., a wall of water more than 20 feet high raced down the canyon at about 14 miles per hour, destroying 400 cars, 418 houses and 52 businesses and washing out most of U.S. Route 34.

To commemorate the anniversary there will be a memorial service held tonight at 7 p.m., the ceremony will be held at a stone memorial located 1 mile below Drake and 13 miles west of the Loveland Kmart.

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