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Flood warning canceled, major roads reopened, school disrupted by storm

August 22, 2013 Updated: August 23, 2013 at 8:08 am
photo - A stranded motorist waits for help Thursday night, August 23, 2013 on Woodmen Road just east of Black Forest Road. The man ended up walking away from the flooded car as the rain subsided. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
A stranded motorist waits for help Thursday night, August 23, 2013 on Woodmen Road just east of Black Forest Road. The man ended up walking away from the flooded car as the rain subsided. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

Here's a roundup of Thursday's storm that hit the region and the aftermath:

7:55 a.m. Friday: All river and flash flood warnings for southern Colorado have been canceled, according to the National Weather Service.

7:30 a.m. Friday: Colorado Springs police are reporting that Voyager Parkway has reopened to all traffic, according to tweets.

6 a.m. Friday: Highway 50 near Boone, east of Pueblo, has reoponed.

Also, Hanover schools are on a 2-hour delay and James Madison Charter School in Colorado Springs is closed because of flood damage.

12:25 a.m. Friday: Colorado Springs Utilities reports that power has been restored to most customers affected by outage near East Platte Avenue and Peterson Road.

Also, U.S. 50 near Boone, east of Pueblo, has been closed in both directions because of flooding, the Colorado Department of Transportation reports.

12:10 a.m. Friday: Black Forest Road has reopened in both directions, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. The Red Cross closed the Manitou Springs evacuation center at midnight.

A flash flood warning was issued for northeast Pueblo County until to 2 a.m.

11:45 p.m.: U.S. 24 has reopened in both directions through Ute Pass.

11:30 p.m. Friday: A flood warning has been issued for El Paso and Teller counties until 5:30 a.m. Friday. At 11:22 p.m. radar indicated a slow-moving thunderstorm in the area, which already has received from 2 to 6 inches of rain.

An additional half-inch to inch of rain is possible through the night, the weather service said.

Areas that could see more flooding include Colorado Springs, Air Force Academy, Black Forest, Calhan, Ute Pass communities, Manitou Springs, Woodland Park, Falcon and Yoder.

Meanwhile, Woodmen Road, which was closed from Black Forest Road to Marksheffel Road, reopened about 11 p.m.

11:10 p.m.: Manitou Springs officials said they are reopening roads into the town, but firefighters will be on watch through the night.

"It looks as though the significant rainfall has diminished right now," said Dave Hunting, spokesman for the Manitou Springs Fire Department.

Also, westbound lanes of U.S. 24 have opened from 31st Street to Cave of the Winds. The road is expected to completely open at 1 a.m. when the flash flood warnings expire.

10:30 p.m.: A storm cell over Woodland Park was causing concern, and firefighters in Manitou Springs were staging at the elementary school in case Fountain Creek flowed over its banks.

In Colorado Springs, utility workers were trying to fix two weather-related power outages affecting about 2,000 customers. One of the outages is near Constitution Avenue and North Circle Drive. The other was near East Platte Avenue and Peterson Road. Colorado Springs Utilities expected to restore power in two to three hours.


10:10 p.m.:  Two kinds of flood warnings now -- the flash flood warning for southern El Paso County has been extended until 1 a.m. Friday. 

Then there's the flood warning for Fountain Creek until Friday afternoon.

10 p.m.: The storms in the Pikes Peak region were forecast to send Fountain Creek over its banks in Colorado Springs, according to the National Weather Service.

Shortly after 9 p.m., a stream gauge at Nevada Avenue showed the water at 7 feet -- about one foot below flood stage. At 10 p.m., forecasters were calling for the river to reach 10.8 feet, said Larry Walrod, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

The creek normally flows at 1.5 feet, Walrod said. A flood warning specifically for Fountain Creek was extended to Friday afternoon.

"This rain so far is just really not letting up," Walrod said

9:55 p.m.: The flood warning has been issued for Fountain Creek through El Paso County and into Pueblo County until Friday afternoon. Flood stage on the creek is 8 feet and the water is expected to rise to more than 10 feet after midnight.

9:50 p.m.
: The storms that raged over the Pikes Peak region on Thursday moved particularly slow -- exaggerating the effects by having the chance to drop more rain and hail, said Pamela Evenson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

"We did have a lot of moisture in the atmosphere," Evenson said. "And with the weather disturbance moving over the area, really made things come together just right."

They were big storms but they were moving so slowly," Evenson added. "The slow movement was a really big problem."

Rain gauges spiked across the region.

The Colorado Springs Airport received 1.77 inches of rain as of 8:12 p.m., according to the weather service.

A weather spotters five miles southeast of Monument recorded 3.12 inches of rain as of 7 p.m., while a spotter near Woodland Park measured 2.79 inches at 7:21 p.m.

There were unofficials reports of 4 inches of rain near the Air Force Academy.


9:30 p.m.: Sirens sounding again in Manitou Springs as torrential rain resumes. Water continues to rise in Fountain Creek.

About a dozen people are waiting at the Loaf and Jug at West Colorado and U.S. 24 waiting to head west. U.S. 24 has been closed since about 6 p.m.


9 p.m.: The severe thunderstorm warning for central El Paso County has been extended to 9:45 p.m. Heavy rain also is forecast for Teller County for the next hour.

The closure of U.S. 24 has been moved east to 31st Street. Colorado Avenue also is closed at 31st Street.

Also closed: 26th and 21st streets and northbound Cimarron along the creek at a precaution.

8:40 p.m. Flood sirens in Manitou Springs are sounding, and officials have cut off access into the town. Police officers stationed at road blocks say flooding is imminent, and people are being warned that a four-foot wall of water could hit.

8:15 p.m.  New warning from the National Weather Service in Pueblo  -- for severe thunderstorms for central El Paso County until 9 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm was centered eight miles southeast of Schriever Air Force Base and was nearly stationary, the weather service said.

“Locations impacted include mainly rural areas of central El Paso County,” the warning states. “Torrential rainfall is occurring with this storm and may lead to flash flooding.”

In neighborhoods near Powers and Dublin boulevards, residents were shoveling hail from sidewalks and driveways.

Flooded roadways throughout the region are closed and motorists should use extreme caution in low-lying areas.


7:50 p.m.: Bandley Road closed in Fountain due to flooding. Weather radar is showing continuing heavy rain in several areas of the Pikes Peak region from this slow-moving storm.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office reports flooding in Lone Duck Campground in Green Mountain Falls. Fountain Creek is raging through Ute Pass. U.S. 24 remains closed.

7:30 p.m.: Black Forest Road between Shoup and Vollmer roads closed due to flooding, El Paso County Sheriff's Office reports.

Colorado Springs Traffic reports that northbound I-25 has reopened.

7:25 p.m.: USGS rain gauges are showing up to 3 inches of rain in some parts of northern Colorado Springs, most of it in the last hour.

People are reporting flooding in Crystola, where a video of a raging Fountain Creek shows a backhoe washed away.

The flash flood warning was extended to Pueblo and other parts of southern Colorado. The Denver area was hit hard by the storm, with reports of several inches of hail in the Littleton area.

7 p.m.: Weather spotters are reporting 2.18 inches of rain east and northeast of the Air Force Academy and nearly 3 inches 5 miles southeast of Monument.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for southern El Paso County, which had not been included in earlier warnings.

6:50 p.m.: Northbound Interstate 25 is closed north of Interquest Parkway because of flooding.

Evacuation center open at 1st Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave., in Manitou Springs;

6:40 p.m.: Severe thunderstorms were centered along a line extending from six miles northwest of Black Forest to north-central Colorado Springs and moving east at 5 mph.

“Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways,” the weather service advises.


6:35 p.m.: Voyager and Copper Center parkways intersection closed due to flooding.

El Paso County officials say Shoup Road remains open despite heavy rain.


6:30 p.m.: Colorado Springs police report "lots of water" along Voyager Road and elsewhere in northeast Colorado Springs. Motorists should use extreme caution on low-lying areas.

Colorado Springs firefighters are working to rescue a stranded motorist near Copper Center Parkway and Voyager Parkway.

A Gazette reader said winds nearly tipped over vehicle near Marksheffel and Woodmen roads.

"Easily 70 mph winds," Nikki Starbuck Schnelle said on Facebook.


6:20 p.m.: Reverse 911 calls going out on the west side of Colorado Springs and in Manitou Springs warning people to seek higher ground and get away from low-lying area immediately. Homeowners were told "your home is at high risk."

Weather service says this is a slow-moving storm with the potential to drop a lot of rain over the region. It has high winds. Residents in Rockrimmon report "sheets of rain" coming down, and residents near Austin Bluffs and Academy report nasty-looking storm clouds.

A Colorado Springs police officer said golf-ball sized hail has fallen in some parts of north Colorado Springs.


6:15 p.m.: Heavy rain reported in northern Colorado Springs, including at New Life Church, where a Black Forest fire Lessons Learned meeting is underway. The meeting was paused briefly because of the noise from the storm, which dropped large hail in the area.


Highway 24 was closed in both directions a little bit after 6 p.m., between Cave of the Winds and Cascade, according to CDOT and Colorado Springs police.

A flash flood warning has been issued for west-central El Paso County, including the Waldo Canyon burn scar, until 9 p.m.

Doppler Radar indicated thunderstorms at 5:48 p.m. producing "very heavy rainfall" across the northern half of the burn scar, the warning states.

"This is very dangerous, life-threatening situation," the warning states. "Runoff from this excessive rainfall will cause flash flooding to occur. Some locations that will experience flooding include Colorado Springs."

If the storm builds to the south, then flash flooding will be possible over the entire Waldo Canyon burn scar, the weather service said.

Earlier, the weather service issued a flash flood watch for the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest burn scars from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Increasing moisture in the Pikes Peak region will allow for heavy rain to develop during the afternoon and into the early evening, with the highest potential to cause flash flooding in the burn scars between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The weather service also issued a severe thunderstorm warning for northwestern El Paso County until 6:15 p.m. Quarter-size hail and 60 mph wind gusts are predicted.

Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop over the mountains then spread east across the Interstate 25 corridor and plains through the afternoon and into the evening, meteorologist Steve Hodanish said.

Cloud to ground lightning and wind gusts up to 45 mph are also in the forecast for Thursday, with temperatures dipping to 60 degrees.

El Paso and Teller counties, as well as the Rampart Range were included in the service's hazardous weather statement, specifically for Woodland Park, Black Forest, the Air Force Academy and Colorado Springs.

A 30 percent chance of precipitation is forecast with showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 9 p.m. "Flash flooding across the Waldo burn scar occurs rapidly, be prepared to react quickly if a flash flood warning is issued or if flooding is observed," Hodanish said.

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