BREAKING NEWS: Flash flood watch upgraded to warning in Waldo burn area

RYAN MAYE HANDY Updated: September 11, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: September 11, 2012

Just before 9 a.m. Wednesday The National Weather Service turned what was a flash flood watch into a flash flood warning for the Waldo Canyon burn.

Weather spotters reported up to a half inch of rain had fallen since 6 a.m. in the burn area. Forecasters were predicting at least another half inch through the rest of Wednesday.

The weather service said the warning will run until at least 2:30 p.m.

Also, the first winter storm watch of the season is on the books, predicted to bury Pikes Peak in possibly eight inches of snow Wednesday night.

(Click here to view live web cams from the summit of Pikes Peak)

“Holy moly! That’s not gonna happen,” exclaimed Brenda Wilson, a Pikes Peak Ranger, after hearing that the National Weather Service in Pueblo issued the watch Tuesday. “It’s too warm.”

Wilson, who hadn’t heard anything about the forecasted winter blast, has a point. This summer was one of record-breaking heat for Colorado Springs and much of the United States, with drought conditions in some states rivaling the severity of the 1930s-era Dust Bowl.

Although it’s September, temperatures in Colorado Springs and Pueblo are still 10 degrees above average, said Patrick Cioffi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

The winter storm watch is in effect for the Pikes Peak region and Sangre De Cristo mountains above 11,000 feet, Cioffi said. The storm is forecast to hit Wednesday afternoon and continue throughout the night, with possible dustings of snow Thursday afternoon as well.

Weather forecasters expect about eight inches to accumulate, Cioffi said. But that’s not set in stone, he added.

“There’s a slight possibility that amount could change. It’s not going to be a big event,” he said.

In other words, it’s not expected to signal the arrival of the much anticipated El Nino storm track that skiers and snowboarders state-wide are hoping will bring early and heavier snows to Colorado’s ski areas.

“It’s more of a pretty typical seasonal fall storm,” Cioffi said.

Wilson, who was sitting in the Pikes Peak Highway tollbooth Tuesday afternoon, took a closer look at the forecast and saw that snow could indeed be possible.

“But I’ll believe it when I see it,” she said.

Contact Ryan Maye Handy: 636-0261
Twitter @ryanmhandy

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