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Gov. Hickenlooper declares disaster emergency as Manitou avoids another blow

By: The Gazette
August 12, 2013 Updated: August 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm
photo - People clear mud and water away from Adam's Mountain Cafe on Monday afternoon. (Jakob Rodgers, The Gazette)
People clear mud and water away from Adam's Mountain Cafe on Monday afternoon. (Jakob Rodgers, The Gazette) 

A roundup of Monday's thunderstorm that caused localized street flooding but did not bring the torrent of water and damage like Friday:


9:15 p.m. The National Weather Service in Pueblo issued a flash flood watch at 4:19 a.m. Monday and canceled it at 9:11 p.m.

“All the showers and thunderstorms kind of moved off out of the area,” meteorologist Makoto Moore said. “There’s still some stuff lingering up north, but even if they do track down across the area, we don’t expect them to produce any rainfall at rates that would create a problem.”

The weather service issued a flash flood warning for the Waldo Canyon burn scar at 2:31 p.m. and canceled it at 4:15 p.m., Moore said.


5:25 p.m. Gov. John Hickenlooper has declared a disaster emergency for El Paso County because of the damage from Friday's flash flood in Manitou Springs.


Here's the press release from the governor's office:


Gov. John Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency related to flooding in recent days in El Paso County. The declaration will make resources available to remove flooding debris and provide flood emergency protective measures.

El Paso County and the City of Manitou Springs on Aug. 10 requested the state assistance. The governor gave verbal approval on the same day.

The governor authorized $400,000 be transferred into the Disaster Emergency Fund from the General Fund appropriation in Fiscal Year 2013-14 to the Controlled Maintenance Trust Fund. The director of the Colorado Office of Emergency Management will direct and allocate the funding to the appropriate government agencies to address the disaster. 

The governor also activated the State Emergency Operations Plan to address the flooding. The activation requires all state departments and agencies to take whatever actions may be required and requested by the director of the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, including provision of appropriate staff and equipment as necessary.

The governor further authorized the Colorado National Guard to assist with search and rescue missions in the area, if necessary, as more rain continues to fall.

5:15 p.m. Manitou Springs officials confirmed at a press conference that there are no other missing persons due to last Friday's flash flood.


Earlier Monday, Penrose Hospital confirmed that Laura Hunter, 49, was rescued Friday and has been treated at the hospital, said Chris Valentine, Penrose spokesman.


Hunter's condition is listed as fair and she will be discharged from Penrose on Tuesday, when she will return home to Manitou Springs, Valentine said.


At the press conference, Manitou Springs police chief Joe Ribeiro of the most recent storm said "this is becoming good practice for us."


The Business of Art Center will host a disaster assistance center, Manitou Springs officials say at a press conference.


Free tetanus shots will be offered 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday for Manitou residents and volunteers.


Debris removal efforts continue.


4:35 p.m. Manitou Springs officials will have a press conference at 5 p.m. to update everyone on the most recent storm.

"We got lucky again," said Jamie Green, who lives above Adam's Mountain Cafe. "We thought it was going to come down hard again."


4:30 p.m. Police let evacuated Fountain Creek Trailer Park residents return. Water receding a bit.


4:22: U.S. Highway 24 has been reopened in both directions, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Alternate routes are advised.

The flash flood warning that was in effect for west-central El Paso County has been canceled, according to the National Weather Service.

Scanner traffic indicates that water is receding and there is little debris in Fountain Creek.


4:15 p.m. People are shoveling muddy water off the patio at Adam's Mountain Cafe, which was hit hard by last Friday's flash flood.

Despite the downpour in Manitou Springs, The Gazette's Jakob Rodgers reports not seeing much debris in Fountain Creek. "I saw one orange construction barrel - that's it," Rodgers tweeted.


4:10 p.m. USGS gauge shows Fountain Creek east of Manitou Springs jumped from 8 cubic feet/second to more than 500 in less than 45 minutes.


3:59 p.m. CSPD says businesses and homes along Fountain Creek between Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City are being evacuated, according to scanner traffic.


3:58 p.m. The Colorado Office of Emergency Management field manager is at the Manitou Springs Incident Command Post, providing support because of the flood, according to a tweet.


3:50 p.m. Scanner traffic indicates westbound Highway 24 is closed at 8th Street.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office tweets that Crystal Park Road at the gatehouse has 12 inches of water on the road.


3:40 p.m. The Gazette's Jakob Rodgers is near the Stagecoach Inn, 702 Manitou Ave., and reports a lower flow of water in Fountain Creek than during Friday's flash flood - despite pouring rain.

The parking lot at Lovers Lane in downtown Manitou Springs has yet to flood.

There is some localized street flooding, with mud flowing down some streets.

Rodgers is seeing blue skies to the west even as the rain continues.


3:33 p.m. Colorado Springs Fire Department reports Fountain Creek has doubled in flow near 31st Street and Colorado Avenue.


3:30 p.m. Heavy rain and water rising in Fountain Creek. Weather service rain gauge showing .43 inches of rain in less than 20 minutes in lower Waldo Canyon.


3:20 p.m.: Pea-sized hail coming down in Manitou; water and mud flowing on Canon Ave.

According to emergency radio, heavy rescue equipment is being called to flood zone.


3 p.m. UPDATE: Colorado State Patrol reports a foot of water over U.S. 24 near Cascade. About an inch of rain has fallen in the area. Traffic is backup up heading out of Manitou Springs; avoid the area.

UPDATE: A flash flood warning was issued until 5:30 p.m. for west central El Paso County, including Waldo Canyon burn scar, and U.S. 24 is being shut down from an area near Cave of the Winds to Cascade.

Radar showed rainfall on the scar - specifically, more than half an inch of rain, according to a statement by the weather service.

A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent, and meteorologists urged residents in the path of floodwaters to seek higher ground.

The warning was for Manitou Springs and western Colorado Springs.

Manitou Springs officials are working to reopen an emergency shelter; some street in Manitou may be closed during the storm.


A flash flood watch for the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest burn scars that took effect at noon Monday has been extended to 3 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Shortly before 12:30 p.m., a special weather statement was issued as radars indicated a cluster of thunderstorms near Woodland Park and Monument, traveling east-northeast at 10 mph.

According to the weather service, the most impacted locations include the Waldo Canyon burn scar, Palmer Lake, Monument, the Air Force Academy and northwestern Colorado Springs. Moderate to heavy rain is expected from these storms.

Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 83 degrees Monday, dropping back down to the mid 50s overnight.

The weather service said hazardous weather systems will hit the hardest in northern El Paso County, over Monument Ridge and Rampart Range, below 7,500 feet.

For Monday afternoon and into the evening, a 40 percent chance of isolated showers and thunderstorms are anticipated over the majority of southern Colorado. As the season's monsoonal moisture continues to build, the strong storms could be capable of gusty winds and even hail in some areas, especially over the burn scars.

The threat for heavy rain and flash flooding will increase as the week progresses over Tuesday and Wednesday across the southeast mountains and plains as a cold front moves through the region. The burn scars along the eastern slopes, including Waldo Canyon, Black Forest, Royal Gorge and East Peak will be the most susceptible both days, according to the weather service.

Penny-sized hail and wind gusts up to 50 mph, along with dangerous widespread lightning are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, with highest temperatures in the mid 70s and dipping to the low 50s during the evenings.

As the week wraps up Thursday and Friday, drier conditions will develop, decreasing the chance of thunderstorms and the threat for flash flooding in the Pikes Peak region.

Another weather disturbance will move into the area Sunday and into next Monday, again increasing the chances for afternoon and evening thunderstorms.


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