A crude oil storage tank lies on its side in floodwaters along the South Platte River, in Weld County, Colo., on Sept. 17. Hundreds of natural gas and oil wells along with pipelines are shut down by flooding, as state and federal inspectors gauge the damage and look for potential contamination from inundated oil fields.
The heavy floodwaters in Colorado this month caused more than 37,000 gallons of oil to spill into or near rivers, and the state's oil and gas industry is rushing to fix equipment damaged during the storm. It comes at a time when there's growing public concern about the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state.
Farmer James Werning, 30, is surveying the damage to his family's farm outside LaSalle, Colo. Corn fields were inundated with water and some farm equipment was damaged by the hip-high water.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media
The flood damage in Colorado is immense, reaching beyond homes and small businesses. The raging rivers also spilled into low-lying farm and ranchland, wrecking costly equipment and stranding livestock.
There has been a lot of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere this year, including the recent torrential rains in Colorado, flooding in Europe, bitter cold in Florida and a heat wave in Alaska. And scientists say all of it is related to some odd behavior by the powerful air currents called the polar jet stream.