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Landslides in the northern Colorado Front Range caused by rainfall, September 11-13, 2013

January 21, 2014

During the second week of September 2013, nearly continuous rainfall caused widespread landslides and flooding in the northern Colorado Front Range. The combination of landslides and flooding was responsible for eight fatalities and caused extensive damage to buildings, highways, and infrastructure. Three fatalities were attributed to a fast moving type of landslide called debris flow. One fatality occurred in Jamestown, and two occurred in the community of Pinebrook Hills immediately west of the City of Boulder. All major canyon roads in the northern Front Range were periodically closed between September 11 and 13, 2013. Some canyon closures were caused by undercutting of roads by landslides and flooding, and some were caused by debris flows and rock slides that deposited material on road surfaces. Most of the canyon roads, with the exceptions of U.S. Highway 6 (Clear Creek Canyon), State Highway 46/Jefferson Co. Rd. 70 (Golden Gate Canyon), and Sunshine Canyon in Boulder County, remained closed at the end of September 2013. A review of historical records in Colorado indicates that this type of event, with widespread landslides and flooding occurring over a very large region, in such a short period of time, is rare.

Publication Year 2014
Title Landslides in the northern Colorado Front Range caused by rainfall, September 11-13, 2013
DOI 10.3133/fs20133114
Authors Jonathan W. Godt, Jeffrey A. Coe, Jason W. Kean, Rex L. Baum, Eric S. Jones, Edwin L. Harp, Dennis M. Staley, William D. Barnhart
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 2013-3114
Index ID fs20133114
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Landslide Information Center