Sterling Flooding: Colorado Town Hit Hard by Floods From South Platte River

Food, water being distributed
By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
September 16, 2013 Updated: June 24, 2015

Food and water is being distributed in Sterling, Colorado as the town continues to recover from heavy flooding.

The Salvation Army is providing meals and water at the Sterling Middle School at 8 a.m., noon, and 5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Logan County Office of Emergency Management has delivered port a potties to various areas of the city. 


A potential power outage in Sterling after flooding is not expected, according to Xcel Energy.

After a flood wave from the South Platte River hit the Colorado town hard early Monday morning and left the substation submerged, fears of a power outage began.

“The possibility of a widespread power out still looms above us,” said the Logan County Office of Emergency Management via Facebook on Sunday night. “A major power sub-station is submerged by the flood waters. It has been decided to leave the power on as long as it will stay. Here’s hoping the sub-station rides out the flood.”

But a spokesman, Gabriel Romero, told the Journal-Advocate that while a power outage wouldn’t come as a surprise, and the company can’t guarantee it won’t happen, company officials aren’t expecting any widespread power outages at this time.

Xcel Energy has already shut off power to 250 customers due to rising waters. Xcel sent out warning calls on Monday to residents to prepare, but it has opted to let the station run as long as it can rather than shutting it down.

“If the sub-station does fail it may be a prolonged power outage to a large portion of Sterling and Logan County,” said the office, which recommends preparing for the possibility of a power outage with these tips.

Romero said that if residents smell a rotten egg smell, they should leave their homes immediately and contact Xcel.


Residents in Sterling are concerned about the immediate future.

“No food, gas, no running water for residents in Sterling–and that might not change for months–residents tell me worried about their jobs,” reported Global National reporter Robin Stickley.

Stickley said that water has receded in Sterling but that the city “is largely shut down.”


Road closures:

CO63 between CO6 and the Atwood Interchange of CO76

U.S. 6 was closed between Sterling and Fort Morgan.

LCR 55 between CO138 and the Iliff Interchange of CO76.

CO 138 from the intersection with Highway 113 to Crook

The Proctor bridge between CO138 and the Proctor Interchange of CO76 is the furthest bridge east in Logan County that is open.

The Overland Trail Museum, a hotel, and a gas station, was flooded. 


Evacuation orders have been extended from the original boundaries of Highway 63 and I-76 up to Sugar Mill Road in Sterling, to Highway 138 on the northwest and I-76 on the southeast side of the river from Sterling to the town of Iliff to along the river bottom up to the town of Iliff, reported the Journal-Advocate. Hundreds of people evacuated in the city of about 15,000.

Officials are asking residents and the suburbs to limit water usage and not flush toilets because the wastewater treatment plant has been impacted by the flooding.

“We realize this is a huge inconvenience for the residents of Sterling, but the system has been shut down, and high usage could result in residential and commercial sanitary sewer back-up conditions,” Bob Owens, Logan County Emergency Manager, said in a news release. “We are working as fast as we can to address the situation, but until the flood water recedes and damage can be assessed, we are unable to start repair.”

All classes in the RE-1 Valley School District have been cancelled through Sunday, and the Sterling Recreation Center is closed.

Anyone with questions can contact the city of Sterling: (970) 522-9700.

Meanwhile, a “record-setting flood wave” is moving down the South Platte River between Sterling and Julesberg today, according to the National Weather Service.

Local meteorologist Dave Fraser said that the crest of the high water on the river is flowing toward Sterling and Julesburg. “River to rise about 10 feet,” he said.

The service later extended a flood warning for northern Colorado, including Sterling, until Wednesday morning “or until the stream falls below flood stage.”

Story developing; check back for updates

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Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.