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Studio Flood

You may be surprised to find this kind of information on a music website, but since our recording studio got flooded, we decided to post it anyway. These last few years have not been kind weather-wise to a lot of people, with tornadoes in Oklahoma, the mid-west, and the south, a huge hurricane on the east coast, along with a record number of droughts and wildfires in the west. (This last fall, for instance, Austin experienced 2 “100-year floods" in a little over two months.) So, in a sense, it’s been raining on everybody. Alison and I have been through some interesting times over the years, but this type of event has been life changing, as anyone who has gone through a similar experience surely knows.


Shortly after midnight, Friday September 13th, what some have described as flooding on a “biblical scale” occurred along the eastern slope of the northern Colorado Rockies, including parts of our hometown of Loveland, Boulder, Lyons, Longmont, and Fort Collins. Due to four days of constant and unprecedented rains on the eastern divide, including the foothills, and higher mountain elevations, along with the recent defoliation from the wildfires of last summer, there was little to constrain this torrential rainfall, all of which added to the large amount of mud and other debris in the runoff from the flood surge.

Early Friday morning, the operators of the Olympus Dam in Estes Park were forced to release an enormous amount of water (more than a cubic mile) into the Big Thompson River in order to maintain the dam’s structural integrity. Downstream many homes, small businesses, farms, and ranches in or near the river canyon areas were severely damaged or completely swept away. When the surge exited the Big Thompson canyon, it spread out over the farthest reaches of the flood plain in Loveland, hitting many more homes and businesses, including ours.


In 2009 when we set up our studio in a Loveland industrial park at the edge of the flood plain, we took some precautions against this unlikely weather event. Nevertheless, at 7:30 P.M. Thursday night everyone in our complex was ordered to evacuate. When the flood receded on Friday afternoon, we found 8” of water in our unit, which after draining, left a residue of 2” of silty, semi-toxic, mud over the entire 2,300 square foot space.

 As we assessed the damage to studio equipment, fortunately no major pieces of electronics (with two exceptions, The Flying Faders card cage and the EMT stereo plate reverb unit), musical instruments, or critical master tapes were water damaged, only smaller items such as power supplies at or near ground level. Hundreds of cables and cable bundles were coated with sludge, though, and many stored boxes of assorted electronics, papers, furniture, art, family memorabilia, etc. were severely damaged or destroyed. 

Over the months, the clean up has been difficult, tedious, rigorous, and expensive. We’ve incurred costs for labor, truck rentals, 3 storage areas, packing materials, pressure washers, etc. Many stored boxes of assorted electronics parts, papers, etc. have all either had to be thrown out or cleaned, re-packed and moved to other storage areas. While we have had some help from local volunteers, we along with our daughter, Helen, have been the main workers on the job.