BOULDER, Colo. (9/16/13)--Days of heavy rain and torrential flooding forced the closing Friday of several Boulder, Colo.-area credit unions.
Elevations CU and Boulder Municipal Employees FCU said they closed Friday and Premier Members FCU temporarily shut down three of its six branches. Boulder Valley CU closed two of its five branches.
The record-setting rainfall came from a storm system that soaked much of the West last week. Up to 10 inches fell in an area from the Wyoming border southward to the foothills west of Denver. Much of eastern and northern Colorado remained under a flash flood warning, meaning flooding was imminent or already reported, the National Weather Service said (USA TODAY Sept. 13).
"This is by and large a pretty dry climate, so managing that volume of rain is challenging," Dennis Paul, assistant vice president for business and community development at Elevations CU, told News Now. "What really put us through the ringer was the inability to navigate."
Most roads and intersections in the Boulder area were impassable by Wednesday, and the Boulder Office of Emergency Management advised local businesses to close.
"Our decision (to close) was driven by what professional and emergency response personnel were recommending," Paul said of Elevations' closing. "There is just a minimal amount of mobility right now in terms of roadways and intersections."
Above Boulder, mountain communities that experienced wildfires the past few years don't have vegetation to absorb the rain, a situation that exacerbates the flooding and adds debris to the mess, Paul said.
At least one Elevations employee's home experienced flood damage, he noted.
"We don't have a tally [of damages], but we spent Thursday afternoon bailing water out of her basement until they could get the sump pumps in place," Paul said.
The flooding, though more sporadic, has also affected areas around Denver and Boulder, Dan Finerty, director of marketing and communications at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, told News Now.
"It's really affected a lot of people," Finerty said. "Although the news reports focus on what happening in Boulder and Longmont, it's really hit the Denver metro area as well. Our staff has been affected and I'm sure credit union employees throughout the area have been affected."
Finerty said credit unions' representatives at a chapter meeting Thursday night in Denver were largely upbeat. "People said they were affected, but they were working to keep everything operational," Finerty said.
See News Now's related story, NCUA: Disaster Policy Now Active For Colo. Flooding, in today's issue.