Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Flood warning canceled for Waldo Canyon burn area

By Lance Benzel Updated: August 11, 2013 at 6:10 pm

UPDATE, 6:10 p.m.: The Red Cross evacuation shelter at 1st Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave., in Manitou Springs has closed for the day.

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UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: The National Weather Service has canceled the flash flood warning for the Waldo Canyon burn scar and surrounding areas.

A flood advisory remains in effect for El Paso County until 8 p.m.

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UPDATE, 5:05 p.m.: A flood advisory has been issued until 8 p.m. Sunday for the Black Forest burn area. A half inch to 1 inch of rain is possible with this storm, according to the National Weather Service.

Westbound Manitou Avenue traffic is being stopped at U.S. Highway 24.

Highway 24 remains open in both directions, according to tweets. State patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation are on scene, monitoring the situation as rain falls in the Manitou Springs area.

The Red Cross evacuation shelter at 1st Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave., in Manitou Springs is open. It had briefly closed Sunday afternoon.

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A flash flood warning will be in effect until 7 p.m. Sunday, covering west-central El Paso County, including the Waldo Canyon burn scar and surrounding areas, according to the National Weather Service.

A small-stream flood advisory was issued at 3:44 p.m. when the service's radars indicated thunderstorms and heavy rain fall across the area, citing rates of .20 to .50 inches of precipitation have fallen over portions of Williams Canyon. An extra half-inch of rain is estimated to fall over the region.

The Waldo Canyon burn scar, Cascade, Chipita Park and Manitou Springs were mentioned as the most affected by the thunderstorms, as the excessive rainfall will cause minor flooding to occur along small streams and near low water crossings.

The weather service stated this is a very dangerous life-threatening situation, as runoff from this excessive rainfall will cause flash flooding and the soils in a burn scar become unstable, sometimes resulting in debris and falling rock. Roads can be washed out by the force of the rushing water and debris.

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UPDATE: The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement at 3:07 p.m. Sunday, warning of scattered thunderstorms developing west and north of the Waldo Canyon burn scar.

West-central El Paso County and east-central Teller County are included in the weather advisory, as the service's radars indicate the thunderstorms are expected to continue building throughout the afternoon.

Northwestern Colorado Springs, the Air Force Academy, the Waldo Canyon burn scar and surrounding areas will be most impacted by the growing storms.

According to the weather service's forecast, the storms will move east-southeast over the area at under 10 mph, possibly dropping less that .2 inches per hour. The storms, however, could intensify through the afternoon and into the early evening, before they dissipate and move to the east.

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Strike one worry from the list.

The mother of a man reported missing after a deadly flood in Manitou Springs says he is OK, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said via its Twitter account.

The man, Juston Travis, 24, was one of two people believed missing after floodwaters killed one man, injured several more, swept away homes and pushed vehicles from streets on Friday evening.

The Sheriff's Office provided no immediate update about the second person, a woman who had been seen clinging to a tree during the flooding, believed missing.

A third person who initially was accounted for was located Saturday. He lived in an area that was devastated and neighbors were concerned about his welfare, authorities said.

Meanwhile, cleanup continues in Manitou Springs, where officials warned people to clear out of flood-prone areas if it starts to rain.

A hazardous weather outlook remains in effect for Colorado, with isolated showers and thunderstorms possible, according to the National Weather Service.

A few strong storms with heavy rain, hail and high wind are possible Sunday afternoon or evening, and the weather service warns that flash flooding could occur if one of the storms moves over any of the state's wildfire burn scars, including Waldo Canyon and Black Forest.

Check back at gazette.com for updates.

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