September 26, 2013 Floods in Lyons, Colorado
September 16, 2010 Floods in Lyons, Colorado
acquired September 26, 2013 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 2400x2400 - left)
acquired September 16, 2010 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 2400x2400 - right)
Floods in Lyons, Colorado
acquired September 26, 2013 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 2400x2400)
Floods in Lyons, Colorado
acquired September 16, 2010 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 2400x2400)

When several days of heavy rain caused devastating flash floods between September 11 and 13, 2013, the town of Lyons, Colorado, suffered some of the worst damage. At the height of the floods, the town was cut off and largely evacuated. As of September 28, the community still did not have running water and vehicle access was limited.

This image illustrates why the town was so hard hit: Lyons sits at the base of two canyons. Two creeks—South Saint Vrain Creek and North Saint Vrain Creek—flow down the canyons and meet in the center of the town to form Saint Vrain Creek. When the rains fell, the canyons funneled water into Lyons.

The top image, taken by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on September 26, 2013, shows how the flood scoured the canyons. In contrast to the lower ALI image, acquired on September 16, 2010, the canyons are pale tan and white where fresh soil has been exposed. The pale muddy scars are also visible in Lyons and southeast along the banks of Saint Vrain Creek.

In Lyons, Saint Vrain Creek may have reached a record peak of at least 8.8 feet, but the flood destroyed the stream gauge, so the actual peak is unknown.

  1. References

  2. CIRES Western Water Assessment (2013, September 25) Severe flooding on the Colorado Front Range. Accessed September 30, 2013.
  3. Town of Lyons (2013, September 28) 2013 flood information. Accessed September 30, 2013.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

Instrument(s): 
EO-1 - ALI

Floods in Lyons, Colorado

Image Location
Image Location
More in this Event (view all)
Left
Floods in Colorado Floods in Colorado Floods in Lyons, Colorado Building in Colorado’s Fire Zone, Part 2
Right