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Gazette Premium Content Severe weather continues along Colorado's Front Range, Teller warning cancelled

12 photos photo - Manitou Springs Sundat around 12:30 p.m. Photo by Dena Rosenberry + caption
Manitou Springs Sundat around 12:30 p.m. Photo by Dena Rosenberry
By Megan Schrader Updated: May 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm

3:06 p.m. UPDATE:

A small stream flood advisory was issued until 6 p.m. for west central El Paso County, as a storm moved over the Waldo Canyon burn scar. The National Weather Service said .20 inches of rain could fall on the burn scar.

The advisory area includes west Colorado Springs, Green Mountain Falls, Chipita Park and Cascade.

2:40 p.m. UPDATE:

The storms over Teller County have weakened, so the weather service has lifted the severe thunderstorm warning.

However, rader shows a line of storms along the Front Range, some with potential for producing hail and wind.

2:15 p.m. UPDATE:

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for northwest Teller County, including Divide and Woodland Park, until 3 p.m., the National Weather Service said.

The storm is expected to have quarter-size hail and winds up to 60 mph, and the weather service said it likely could damage roofs and vehicles.

 

1:45 P.M. UPDATE:

Severe storm passing through Douglas County with reports of heavy rain and hail in Larkspur, Castle Rock, Sedalia and Franktown. Reports of 3 inches of hail in some places; traffic cameras on Interstate 25 show rain in many areas and hail on I-25 near Tomah Road.

1: p.m. UPDATE: U.S. 24 is back open after being closed for roughly 30 minutes Sunday because of a flood warning, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

12:30 p.m. UPDATE: A flood warning has closed U.S. 24 at Cascade to Cave of the Winds near Manitou Springs with no estimated time of reponing, according to the Colorado Department of Transportaiton.

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EARLIER STORY

Two nights of flood watches and warnings didn't materialize in the Pikes Peak region, but storms could continue Sunday and Monday evenings as the weather pattern holds for a few more days.

Sunday will be partly sunny with a high around 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo. There's a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms during the day. Memorial Day will be similar but with a slightly less chance of thunderstorms developing, around 10 percent.

The storms Saturday moved quickly and weakened before they reached the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fire burn scars. There were no reports of flooding and unlike Friday night, sirens didn't sound in Manitou Springs and U.S. 24 stayed open.

Less than a half inch of rain fell on the Waldo Canyon burn scar by 10 p.m. Saturday, alleviating concerns that flooding would close U.S. 24 and send water rushing into Manitou Springs, as storms did Friday night.

“As those storms moved toward the burn scars they really weakened and I think that helped a lot with the rainfall rates,” said Jennifer Stark a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

Stark said the pattern will continue Sunday and Monday as storms build and move through the area starting in the afternoon.

Flash flood, tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings ran up and down the Front Range with circling clouds threatening the Chatfield and Ken Caryl areas southwest of Denver, but never touching down.

Heavy rains were also a concern over the Black Forest burn scar and in Fremont County over the Royal Gorge burn scar.

Soil in fire-damaged areas is unable to hold water, causing it to rapidly roll downhill, exceeding the capacity of streams and culverts.

A new culvert on U.S. 24 west of Manitou Springs is working well, said Bob Wilson, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

CDOT closed the highway Friday night for about three hours during a flood warning for the area, but he said water flowed well through the culvert.

“That’s obviously going to be tested throughout the year,” Wilson said. “It’s designed to handle some big loads, up to 10 times larger than what we’ve had previously.”

Wilson said the policy is to close the highway any time more than a half inch of rain falls on the burn scar. Friday night saw more than 0.6 inches, he said.

“We just wanted to be proactive about it, rather than having to rescue people,” Wilson said, adding no one wants to repeat the flooding of Aug. 9, which killed one person and damaged much of downtown Manitou.

Stark said that by 9 p.m. Saturday, 0.3 inches of rain had fallen on the burn scar, and the storms were dissipating.

The more saturated the ground is from previous rain storms, the greater the risk of floods, Stark said.

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