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.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. You are so right- in today’s day and age, social media is something that most of us have in common. It’s a great way to quickly keep up with what is going on around the world!

    • You’re welcome Toni. Every day I hear of other resources people can access for help with things like an insurance. Even the IRS announced that taxpayers in Colorado counties of Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld will receive tax relief in the form of extending the tax filing and payment deadlines to December 2, 2013.

      Allison, there are still some folks I know who don’t utilize social media marketing in any way, shape or form. However, I think this was a time it might have come in handy for many – even just one social network would have been worthwhile for staying in touch.

  2. So glad you are dry and well. Thanks for sharing where we all can go to help make a difference for those affected:)
    Toni Nelson recently posted…Three Tips For Using A QR CodeMy Profile

  3. Debra, thanks goodness you are safe. That is always the most important thing. I can empathize with the tragedy and devastation in Boulder. I live in Missouri and we have had many tornadoes and floods in the past 10 years that have destroyed so many homes and lives; think Joplin. On the up side, it is such times that you see people from all over reaching out to lend support and a hand in any way possible. The stories of stranger aiding stranger show us the best of humanity. My prayers go out to everyone affected by the floods in Boulder.
    On the topic of social media helping in such situations. Yes, as long as the internet is still functioning I do believe people connecting via the social media sites is even more useful than television or radio. Technology should be here to assist us and this is just one way we can use it for the good of many.
    Belinda Rose recently posted…The Inspiring Story of “The Most Beautiful Flower”My Profile

    • Thanks Belinda. I am grateful to have been safe & dry through this event. When people had power, the Internet (and social networking) made it possible for them to post photos and let people know how they were doing during the storm. Not to mention, they could also post what they needed help with.
      Grateful that now the sun is shining and people can start putting their lives (and homes) back in order.

  4. Thanks for this post Debra,

    And thank goodness you are safe and sound. I pray that others in Boulder find relief from this devastation as quickly as possible.

    Your post was an eye opener for me. Although I do use social media to market, I never really thought about the impact it can have during any type of devastation such as the one you experience.

    I believe social media is no longer a luxury. It is now a necessity. The more news we are able to tap into the more we will be in the know.
    Denise Marie Filmore recently posted…10 Second or Less Elevator Speech Game ChangerMy Profile

    • Thanks Denise. Many people turn to social media during challenging times. I think for many it serves two purposes: It’s a way to keep people around the country (i.e. in this instance, loved ones) up-to-date and to I find it also helps people with the healing process.
      Appreciate you stopping by to share your kind thoughts.

  5. I’m totally in love with Social Media. Amazing story and it must be scary to be in the middle of nature disaster. Thanks for posting a link to the video. It’s assuring to know that compassion and selfless help still exist.
    Inga Deksne recently posted…To be successful on Social Media all you need is LOVE!My Profile

  6. Glad you are safe and sound! I totally agree how social media has helped us get real time information. It’s so vital that we can all share and update each other on what’s happening. Sometimes when there is a natural disaster, we can’t always call loved ones so this is a nice alternative to reaching out to friends and family!
    Minling recently posted…Don’t Wait, Just Start!My Profile

    • Sometimes, in natural disasters, the power & phone lines are out so having direct contact with loved ones then can be tricky. However, I found during the 100-year flood, those who did have power and Internet access were doing their best to keep others well-informed (as best they could).
      Thanks Minling.

  7. I’m happy to hear you’re safe. I live in NYC and was here during the hurricane last year. Social media became such a powerful way to see what happened, and most importantly to help others. I have found that social media has become such a way of life, the way I get my news, interact with others and so much more.
    Tracey Ceurvels recently posted…Three must-go-to cafés in NYC {Embracing the art of routine}My Profile

    • Tracey, social media has become a way of life for many. I have friends who recently visited from Hawaii and they were constantly posting information online via their smartphones (they were here during the 100-year flood).
      P.S. I grew up in NY (Queens) and have family there as well so during Hurricane Sandy we were in touch often.

  8. So often people talk about the negative aspects of social media, so it’s a true joy when we are shown the other side. How wonderful that you are not only able to keep up to date with what’s happening, but that you can feel supported too. And you are able to share.

    Glad you are safe lovely. Thank you for sharing.
    Jacqueline Fairbrass recently posted…Good or Bad, Stress is Part of LifeMy Profile

    • As with many things Jacqueline, there are advantages and disadvantages (just like you wrote about good vs. bad stress). However, I’m glad you appreciate the positive aspects of social media.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

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