LONGMONT, Colo. (KDVR) — The images from 10 years ago are unforgettable.
Colorado deluged by the worst flood in state history. Nine people killed, $4 billion in damage.
Pictures flashed across TV screens and covering newspaper front pages told the story best: homes partially washed down stream in Jamestown, roads swept away in Lyons, horses stranded in knee-deep water in flooded Weld County farm fields.
“It’s cliché to say, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right? This really solidifies to me what happened,” said Bianca King, museum assistant at Longmont Museum. The museum is unveiling a new, yearlong exhibit called “Crisis to Camaraderie: The 2013 Flood Photo Exhibit.”
“It captures that moment in time,” said Erik Mason, the museum’s curator of history.
The 2013 floods, as captured by the community
All of the photos in the exhibit were taken and submitted by Longmont community members. Many of them show harrowing rescues carried out by daring first responders. One photo in particular resonates with King.
“It’s with (Longmont Fire Department) engine No. 8 in the background and a man in the water. And the water is literally almost shoulder-deep for him, and he’s going toward the fire engine. I think that one really speaks to the entire experience,” King said.
“(Longmont resident) Frank Martin sent one (a photo) of a pool table with water all the way up to it. And I think it’s crazy just to see that actual amount of water, and imagining that being fully inside of his house,” said Jasmine Dinnell, museum assistant.
The staff has spent a year planning and curating the exhibit, capturing the heartbreak and hope of the historic flood.
“We know from the history of Longmont that it is not if there will be another event like this, but when. Longmont’s had about six floods of similar size. None of them as impactful, but hopefully people will be prepared and ready for the next one,” Mason said.
While the images of the flood and recovery are powerful, Mason said the spirit of togetherness forged that week in Longmont is what leaves a lasting impression a decade later.
“Even though the flood was a terrible event, it did produce some wonderful community,” he said.
The exhibit kicks off with an event on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Longmont Museum.