From the Estes Park Trail Gazette (John Cordsen) via the Loveland Reporter-Herald:
The flood was first reported a little after 6 a.m. by former town trustee Stephen Gillette, who was a driver for A-1 Trash Service at the time.
He was making a pickup at the Lawn Lake trailhead and “heard a roar and saw debris in the air,” he said in an interview following the flood in 1982. “It was like a jet had crashed into the mountain.”
Millions of gallons of water rushed down Roaring River, creating the alluvial fan that is still visible today. The water merged with Fall River in Horseshoe Park and collapsed the Cascade Dam before joining the Big Thompson River and dumping into Lake Estes. The water hit the west edge of Estes Park around 8:12 a.m.
Flood waters destroyed 18 bridges, damaged road systems (particularly Fall River Road), inundated 177 businesses (75 percent of Estes Park’s commercial activity) and damaged 108 residences. Most businesses reported 3 to 4 feet of water, and as much as 2 feet of mud, in their establishments.