The December 29, 2000 Colorado flood was a short, yet catastrophic and unusually deadly disaster that occurred in Cherry Creek, Colorado from 1100 AM MTN time to 845 PM MTN time on December 29, 2000. The flood was caused by the Platte River overflowing from snowmelt and the Cherry Creek Reservoir Dam failing from erosion by rainfall and snowmelt. The disaster caused 96 deaths and $952 million in damage in terms of 2000 USD. It was the worst disaster since the March 12, 1998 plane crash in Colorado.
On December 27, 2000, a winter storm hit Colorado's Rockies, Plains, and cities like Denver, Arvada, Loveland, Lakewood, some other place, Cherry Creek, and Littleton. The blizzard was the heaviest since 1982, laying 29 inches in Denver, 27 in Littleton, 14 in Arvada, and 9 in Cherry Creek. The winter storm led to 3 injuries, due to wind and being buried in snow. Later that night, a cold front passed with 50 mph winds, causing a dam in Cherry Creek to break in the early morning of December 28. The dam was minimally broken, and only let out some water. However, due to high temps, reaching 78 degrees Fahrenheit unusually late in winter, as the snow started to melt, overflowing the South Platte River, causing minimal flooding which killed a 19 year old girl riding her bike, sadly. As the unusual flooding got worse on the 29th due to the dam break and snowmelt, filling up the reservoir more. Flash flood warnings were issued for Jefferson County, Denver County, and some areas of Douglas County. 84 year old Nigel Lockwood, the oldest to die, sadly was killed after being swept away by river currents with his 18 year old grandson. In Arvada, several buildings were destroyed and closed, such as Olde Town and parts of Denver were obliterated. 32 inches of water were reported in an area of Denver County, the worst affected county. FEMA set up shelters, but many washed away. The flood killed 28 people in a hotel, then becoming the deadliest disaster in Colorado History. Over 672,800 people were evacuated for the flood in Wyoming and Fort Collins. A 2 year old boy and his 21 year old father was swept away but were both then found unusually in Commerce City in a field, the only 2 people who did not die in Lakeside, Colorado. Then, all hell broke loose when, on 2:55 PM in Cherry Creek, when the dam BURST. This was bad. Flash flood warnings and watches became flood and hydrological warnings. Over 17 people died in Arvada while riding a train, leading to the train derailing and causing a massive car accident on Wadsworth Boulevard, killing 9 more people. 58 deaths were reported so far, as one man was interviewed, Eddie Greenwich said "I woke up, and my family and my house was gone, like the river kidnapped them." The flood also led to a tragic dam burst in Chatfield Reservoir and Standley Lake, both individually killed 6. 70 deaths. Then 16 deaths were reported in Englewood, as finally, no one was dying after that. Over 880 buildings were gone in Denver. FEMA tried to bring supplies, but the water was dirty and the blankets, pillows, shelters, and food never arrived. 16 year old Alexandra LeBlanc and her 1 year old son, Virgil were rescued by a rescue boat driven by Alexandra's mother and sister. The boat rescue plan was a success, rescuing over 4,000 citizens in Denver, Cherry Creek, Arvada, and Lakewood. The flood in total stopped after a draining plan, and all the water was gone at midnight Dec 29, 2000. On December 30, a plaque was made to remember the victims of the flood and was finished in June 2001. 96 were killed and almost 1 billion USD was lost after the flood. It was the worst disaster in Colorado's entire history.