Rainstorms in Denver are common throughout the spring and summer months. It's important to remember that floods caused by rain can occur anywhere, with floodwaters rising gradually or flash floods striking suddenly. Water's powerful force can easily overtake vehicles and people.
When rain is falling, it’s best not to walk or bike near a river or stream, even on Denver’s paved urban bike and walking trails; water flow can quickly increase and flooding can occur without notice.
Move to higher ground and never go into a culvert! If you are on a streamside trail during a rainstorm use the alternate trail up to street level to avoid underpasses and culverts.
In some areas that are geographical low-points and underpasses, water can't be expected to disappear down the storm inlets instantly — the pace and volume of the rainfall is too quick and too great to immediately drain off. It takes time for the system to accommodate it.
If you know that your street tends to flood because it is located in a low point, be sure to move your vehicles to higher ground.
Stay clear of downed lines and report them immediately to Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-1999. If a power line has fallen onto a vehicle, stay away from the vehicle. Seek help immediately by calling 911.
Natural gas service lines are buried throughout the city, and they can sustain damage in times of heavy rain and flooding. If you smell natural gas (the odor is similar to sulfur or rotten eggs), it may indicate a gas leak. Immediately leave your home or outside area with gas odor. Once safely outside or away from the area with the odor, call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-2999 to report your concern. Avoid using anything that has the potential to create a spark. Do not smoke, turn on or off lights, turn on appliances, use garage door openers, start a car, or use phones in an area where gas may be present.
Property owners are responsible for cleanup of debris from trees on private property and from trees within the public right-of-way adjacent to their property. (For residents on a designated parkway, the adjacent property owners are not responsible for public right-of-way trees on the parkway but would need to address trees on other streets if they live on a corner or have an alley.)
Limbs on the ground are considered debris. Property owners can hire any licensed company to haul limbs away — for this type of work, the company does NOT have to be a licensed tree contractor.
When a tree or limb is blocking safe access to the street or right-of-way, Denver Forestry has an on-call contractor remove the limb or tree and bills the property owner for the work.
See guidelines for tree damage, emergency tree and limb removal, and lists of licensed and insured tree care contractors at www.denvergov.org/forestry
Residents with flooded basements are advised to contact their insurance company immediately. Other recommended steps include: