6 months since Colorado's historic floods, families say it feels like a 'lifetime ago'

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - Road repairs, debris pickup and economic recovery continue six months since September's floods.

Tuesday, March 11th will mark six months since the rain started falling, causing what forecasters called a '500 year flood.' Since then, families, volunteers and crews have worked feverishly to help with recovery.

One of the most dramatic areas is the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon, near the Dam Store. Video taken by 7NEWS Monday shows a boulder field where the riverbed used to be. Across the river, volunteers are still cleaning debris from homes wiped out on Hummingbird Lane.

"It’s been a cold, hard winter so now is the time I think people are going to start doing more cleanup," said homeowner Laura Strals.

Strals moved to Fort Collins after her home along the Big Thompson river was destroyed by the floods. Nearly 15 feet of silt and sand covered her home. Since then, she's removed the roof and started digging out her belongings. Monday, a group of students from Tarleton State University in Texas helped Strals continue digging up pieces of her past. The group is here for spring break, making stops in Lyons and Estes Park later this week.

"I didn’t expect it to be this much damage still," said senior Camry Farhat. "Driving up, we were like 'Oh the river, where was it before.' We started over there and we didn’t know if there was a house here. And then we got lower and there’s a house that had been completely demolished. It was insane." 

The entire mouth of the canyon was destroyed, except the Dam Store. Owner Micah Noyse told 7NEWS it has been a rollercoaster.

"A lot of mixed feelings. It’s one of these things, we did not sustain a lot of physical damage, if any. It was all economic. Then to see all your neighbors having the issues they have."

The Dam Store relies on the summer period to make 60 percent of its revenue. Right now, U.S. 34 is open however the timeline for permanent repairs is uncertain, which may affect Noyse's business.

When asked if it feels like it has been six months.

Strals replied, "It feels longer because there’s so much that’s changed in our life. It feels like almost a lifetime ago, but yet here we are."

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