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Drier Thursday gives region a chance to recuperate, repair

By: stephen hobbs stephen.hobbs@gazette.com
July 17, 2014 Updated: July 17, 2014 at 9:02 pm
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A lot of water coming out of Williams Canyon in Manitou Springs. (Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette)

Drier conditions Thursday provided respite from the pounding thunderstorms that have swept across the Pikes Peak region in the past week, allowing ditches and creeks to lessen and cleanup crews to address repairs and damages.

Across El Paso County, maintenance workers tried to gauge the extent of the damage from Wednesday, while also moving forward with repairs from storms from last weekend.

Max Kirschbaum, operations manager with the county's public services department, said about 120 maintenance workers were tasked with assessing and repairing road damage Thursday. Sanborn, Baggett and Truckton were among the roads that were repaired and reopened.

Franceville Coal Mine Road in Colorado Springs was also hit hard by Wednesday's storms, Kirschbaum said. As much as half of the roadway was washed out, he said, and a grader was used to reopen one lane.

Road closures and damage prohibited the United States Postal Service from delivering mail Thursday to 75 addresses in Calhan. Emergency personnel prevented the deliveries to the addresses, which are located in a trailer park and subdivision, said David Rupert, a postal service spokesman. He was unsure if mail would be delivered Friday.

Dr. Patrick Cullen, superintendent for the Ellicott School District 22, said summer school classes for the elementary school were back in session Thursday after a nearby pump station was fixed.

Cullen said that some kids were unable to get to school Thursday because of road closures and damage that prohibited transportation.

"That's just a lot of rain to handle," he said.

Brian Bledsoe, chief meteorologist for KKTV 11 News, said the "extreme drought" in the eastern and southeastern parts of the county have made the ground unable to handle the large amounts of rain that has fallen recently.

According to the National Weather Service in Pueblo, .81 inches fell from Wednesday to Thursday morning in the Fountain area; .62 inches in the Yoder area; .57 near Calhan; and 1.50 inches near Ellicott.

"If you don't have vegetation around there's nothing really to absorb it, and the water can go wherever it freely wants," Bledsoe said. "It's like putting water on a table top."

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