The Miracle of Social Media & Boulder’s 100-Year Flood

Boulder Colorado 100-Year FloodI live in Boulder, Colorado where we just experienced what many are calling the 100-year flood (I even heard someone say it was the 500-year flood). Between 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11th and 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12th Boulder recorded 9.08 inches of rain, according to Boulder Meteorologist Matt Kelsch.

It was by far the wettest day in the city’s history since weather records were first officially kept in 1897. Approximately 15 inches of the annual precipitation of 30.14 inches fell between Monday evening and Friday in the deadly storm that swept across Boulder County.

Today, as I write this, the sky is clear blue without a cloud in sight. I think Mother Nature has decided to stop crying over Boulder and let her light shine brightly. Now, it is my hope that those affected by the devastation can begin their recovery and rebuild their lives.

What does this have to do with social media, you might ask?

Well, I don’t have a TV. So as the rain was coming down in buckets on Thursday night and emergency sirens started going off, the first thing I did was get online (I was fortunate, I still had power).

It was thanks to social networking sites that I was kept up-to-date on what was happening around me. On Twitter, I learned that evacuations were occurring, but not in my immediate vicinity. The emergency sirens were alerting people not to cross Boulder Creek, which had swelled enormously.

The local newspaper, the Daily Camera even posted a live social media stream dedicated to flood coverage.

Search #boulderflood on Twitter and you’ll see tweets about road closures, fundraising efforts, rescue efforts and more.

On Facebook, people were posting photos of both the devastation around town as well as in their own homes. Even though some were experiencing severe devastation they found time to post updates letting their friends and family know – near and far – that despite what images they saw online or in the news, they were hanging in there. To me, it truly was miraculous.

I lived on the island of Kaua`i for 10 years and while I was not there during Hurricane Iniki, I experienced the devastation of flooding when the Ka Loko Dam breached in March 2006 and a wall of water took the lives of seven people in its path.

Soaked in paradise, Kauai, HIThen, in March 2011 my own home flooded when the island was pounded with a massive downpour in a short period of time.

I am grateful that during Boulder’s 100-year flood I was safe and dry. Thank you to everyone who called, emailed or posted messages on Facebook. While many friends have experienced flooding – from mild to severe – those in the community are rallying to help one another. Please watch this video it’s a beautiful example of how social media helped as well as the awesome volunteers – giving mudslingers a good name – who pitched in:

The helicopters have been going back & forth for the last few days. Tweets continue on Twitter and photos are posted on an ongoing basis on Facebook – keeping people around the county informed moment to moment. For those who shun social media, you might reconsider its value.

How can you help those affected by the 100-year flood in Boulder County? Check out the following:

Donate Boulder – Community Organized Flood Relief – and
Stay Strong Colorado –
Boulder Flood Relief –
Help Colorado Now –

How to Help Disaster Survivors by Andi O’Conor –
Boulder’s 100-Year Flood: How to Help and How to Talk About It – Colorado Daily

If you have more flood relief resources you’d like to share, please post them here. Thank you for caring about those affected by Boulder’s 100-year flood.