CU students from valley rattled, not hurt, by floods

Kamron Medina and Chelsea Shettler are back in classes at the University of Colorado in Boulder, having survived the flood of 2013.

Medina and Shettler, both Grand Junction High School graduates, saw the flood in different ways, but each said it still affects them and their classmates.

“We’re missing a lot of friends,” Shettler said Monday. “Classes were definitely vacant this morning, there were a lot of people missing.

“People’s minds were not on school.”

Medina, who had to flee his fast-filling basement bedroom as water swamped the house he rents with four other students, said he tried to concentrate on homework over the weekend, but it was difficult.

“It was really hard to pay attention in school” when classes resumed, Medina said.

Medina, an aerospace-engineering major, was studying in his bedroom on Thursday after classes were canceled by the continuing, heavy rainfall.

He got up from his chair “and my toe got wet,” he said. Then he noticed beads of water running along the walls.

“It took me a second to process it,” Medina said. “Then I went to the door and the water started pouring in.”

It turned out that the water was bubbling up from a basement drain that led somewhere unpleasant.

“It’s really nasty,” Medina said. “It looks like sewer water, it smells like sewer water, it’s brown like sewer water.”

He hasn’t been told it’s effluent, but the house is marked with yellow tape and he’s been told it will take as many as six weeks before he can get back in.

He’s staying with a family from his church on an air mattress in the living room for the moment, but the administration has been helpful in reminding professors to keep in mind that many students were displaced, Medina said.

Shettler lives in a ground-floor apartment in the suddenly ominously named Bear Creek Apartments. The creek usually runs about a foot deep, but by Thursday it was roaring with five to eight feet of water, Shettler said.

That afternoon, she and her twin brother, Josh, “started to get a little worried,” she said. “You’re not sure when this is going to stop, if ever.”

It did, eventually, and Shettler went back to classes for her dual majors of business and studio arts, having seen a face of Colorado she never expected.

“Everyone was unprepared, it caught everyone off guard,” Shettler said. “This is Colorado, where nothing bad ever happens, except for forest fires and the occasional avalanche.”


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