Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Colorado State University
Topic: Fort Collins 1997 Flood -
An Incredible Event That Will Happen Again in Colorado
The July 1997 flood disaster in Fort Collins was caused by the heaviest rains ever experienced in a Colorado city. The storm dropped 10 to 14 inches in 31 hours and peak discharges greatly exceeded projected 100-year and 500-year flows. Five people died, 54 were injured, about 200 homes were lost, and 1,500 homes and businesses were damaged. Damages at Colorado State University were about $100 million, including catastrophic losses to the library.
Neil S. Grigg is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Colorado State University where his work focuses on water resources and infrastructure management. After the July 1997 flood, he organized a city forum to evaluate the traumatic event, which attracted some 400 people who gave riveting testimonies of personal experiences with the emergency. In 2011 he chaired a national technical to assess the Corps of Engineers performance in operating reservoirs during the great Missouri River flood of that year. He is also chair of a national committee to develop flood loss estimation software for the flood insurance program.