The sirens interrupted guitarist Gary McCrumb's first date with a fiddle player named Jean Ballhorn; the two were playing songs in the kitchen of his 110-year-old house. McCrumb lived in the heavily wooded neighborhood at the confluence of St. Vrain Creek's north and south branches, and he went outside to investigate. He found six inches of water rushing through the alley and waded one block farther to the creek, which was already bulging at its banks. The scene looked surreal, like something out of a cartoon. "We need to get the hell out of here," he told Ballhorn.