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Disaster!
by Stormy on July 26, 2007

Sometimes well laid plans go bad due to no one's fault. We tend to call that

Thursday night is the traditional Photo Salon Night for the NSS. Awards are given to NSS artists and their works are displayed for all to see. It's a big thing as the talents of the best and brightest artists are recognized. This year the venue for the Salon was a large underground quarry, the Marengo Warehouse and Distribution Center. It's a huge facility that is no longer an active quarry. It is now used as a storage facility for all sorts of things. The temperature in this facility is a steady 54 degrees all year long. Over a thousand cavers were taken by bus from the campground to the quarry for the presentation. The weather was miserable as a hard rain fell and this encouraged a larger than usual group to attend the Photo Salon. In a way this was a blessing in disguise. After the first half of the show was over, the convention chair got up on stage and announced to the audience that a microburst had hit the campground and 70% of the campsites were destroyed. This created a mass exodus. A lot of people rushed for the busses to return to the campground. The 70% destruction was probably an overestimate, but it's fair to claim that there was nearly 100% damage. There were tents flattened and tent poles snapped. Water flooded the area, leaving deep puddles. Most things were wet. Gear was scattered by the burst of wind and much of it was lost. When we arrived at the campground, police and fire vehicles were already in place. They were trying to assist those few people who had stayed at the campground. Some were injured. There were a lot of cuts and bruises. One woman needed stitches in her face where she was hit by flying debris. It was a large scale disaster tragedy, but what saved most of the people was the fact that they were at the Marengo Warehouse and Distribution Center to take shelter from the heavy rain. The toll could have been a lot worse! Red Cross was called out to assist those who needed shelter and those who still had their shelter but now lacked dry bedding. A cook with food was called out to make meals for those who had lost their food. The emergency personnel assisted with what they could. Everyone worked together incredibly well.

Before the Photo Salon the rain came down in buckets.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
It was hard to see anything at times.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
A fleet of busses was used to transport soggy cavers to the Photo Salon.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
The Marengo Distribution Warehouse is a huge facility capable of hosting thousands of people.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
The sign says it all!
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
Screens and seating were set up for the presentation.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
After the announcement of the microburst was made, many cavers chose to return to the campground. Concern and anxiety were very evident in their faces.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
A neighbor's tree was shattered by the microburst.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
Tents were torn on their frames.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
Some areas were a complete loss.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
Many people lost their shelter.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
There was also a lot of flooding and tents that sat in these areas did not fare well.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
First responders came from all over the area.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
There were all sorts of rescue vehicles present.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
Destroyed tents were quickly moved out of the way.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)
The Rocky Mountain Region tent that has been used by the Colorado cavers all week was one of the victims of the storm.
(taken by Max on July 26, 2007)


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