The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

A type one heavy air tanker takes off from air command to fight the Hayman fire southwest of Denver. Photo Credit: FEMA News, Michael Rieger.

Far from any coasts, volcanoes, or poles, Colorado is nestled safely in the western United States between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. Coloradans are sheltered from the harsh weather the coastal states are all too familiar with, right? Well, not exactly. From raging forest fires to flash floods, Colorado has seen it all. These are the 8 craziest natural disasters to hit Colorado in recorded history.

1. Hayman Fire in Pike National Forest

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

Fire crews work put out hot spot on the southern edge of the Hayman fire. Photo Credit: Michael Rieger, FEMA News.

Known as one of the largest Colorado fires in recorded history, Hayman Fire destroyed over 138,000 acres of land. Terry Barton, a Fire Prevention Technician, accidentally started the fire by ceremonially burning a letter from her estranged husband.

RELATED: Colorado National Forests: By the Numbers

2. The 2013 Colorado Floods

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

Residents were evacuated via a COARNG CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the Boulder Municipal Airport in Boulder on Sept. 13, 2013. Photo Credit: U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. Joseph K. VonNida.

From September 2013 to the early months of 2014, Colorado experienced a series of floods after a lingering cold front initiated the precipitation. The floods left eight dead, many missing, and caused over $1 billion in destruction.

RELATED: Colorado’s Castle Ruins

3. 2011 Colorado Earthquake

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

The epicenter of this 5.3 magnitude earthquake was 10 miles northwest of Trinidad. Photo Credit: teofilo.

During a bizarre August afternoon, Colorado witnessed the largest earthquake recorded in over 100 years. A 5.3 magnitude tremor shook the residents of Trinidad and neighboring areas.

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4. The 1913 Blizzard

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

Blizzard in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Photo Credit: Greg Younger.

To this day, the 1913 blizzard holds the record for the largest snowstorm in Colorado’s history. A record-breaking 45 inches of snow covered the state, halting all activities until the snowfall subsided.

RELATED: [PHOTOS] Colorado Ghost Towns

5. 2008 Windsor Tornado

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

Aftermath of the Windsor Tornado. May 22, 2008. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Livestock, 18-wheelers, homes, and even one person fell victim to the 2008 Windsor tornado. This 39-mile long path of destruction caused an estimated $125 million in destruction.

RELATED: [VIDEO] Tornado Touchdown in Colorado

6. The 1884 Woodstock Avalanche

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

Avalanche in Colorado. Photo Credit: Grayskullduggery.

After an 1884 avalanche had taken the lives of 18 men, women, and sleeping children, the town of Woodstock, Colorado was never rebuilt.

RELATED: 13 Weirdest Hikes in Colorado

7. 1979 Fort Collins Hail Storm

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

Photo Credit: NikiLitov.

In one of the few recorded deadly hailstorms, grapefruit-sized hail rained on Fort Collins during the end of July. Heavy property damage and hundreds of injuries were reported.

RELATED: 8 Extraordinary Places to Stargaze in Colorado

8. Big Thompson Flood

The 8 Craziest Natural Disasters in Colorado History

Photo Credit: KSwinicki.

While smaller in volume than the 2013 floods, this fast acting flash flood of 1976 took the lives of 144 people and caused over $35 million in damages.


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