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U.S. 24 open in both directions after flooding

By: The Gazette
July 16, 2014 Updated: July 17, 2014 at 8:01 am
Caption +
Side roads continue to #flood even after rain has subsided. 19th Street, just past Uintah. Photo by Nick Beadleston @nickbeadleston

Here's a recap of Wednesday's storms and flooding in the Pikes Peak region:

UPDATE 12:05 a.m.

U.S. 24 has been re-opened in both directions. The highway was closed since about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. 

The wet weather caused several roads throughout El Paso County to be closed due to flooding, and prompted the evacuation of about two dozen people in Manitou Springs and Chipita Park. The Chipita Park evacuees were given lodging for the night and will find out the status of their homes on Thursday morning. The Manitou Springs evacuation center aided 14 people through the evening before it closed around 11:45 p.m.

UPDATE 10:45 p.m.

The evacuees being temporarily housed at Ute Pass Elementary School are residents of Chipita Park, said Bill Fortune, Red Cross spokesman.

They couldn't get to the evacuation center in Manitou Springs because U.S. 24 was closed.

"We're working with them to try to find a place to stay overnight," Fortune said. "And they'll find out the status of their homes tomorrow."

UPDATE 10:40 p.m.

Some rainfall totals between 5 and 9 p.m., according to USGS rain gauges:

-- .43 inches at Fountain Creek in Cascade

-- .41 inches at Waldo Canyon above the mouth

-- .55 inches in lower Waldo Canyon

-- .59 at Camp Green in Garden of the Gods

-- .91 inches at Monument Creek at Bijou Street

-- .95 inches in Manitou Springs

The National Weather Service reported that .57 inches of rain fell in 10 minutes just before 8 p.m. in Colorado Springs.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.

The flash flood warning for northwestern El Paso County has been extended to 12:15 a.m.

The National Weather Service reports that many creeks are running high and fast and road flooding continues throughout the region.


UPDATE 10:05 p.m.

Red Cross reports that 13 people were evacuated in Chipita Park and are now at Ute Pass Elementary School. It also said that 12 people are waiting at the evacuation center in Manitou Springs for U.S. 24 to reopen.

UPDATE 9:50 p.m.

National Weather Service says there is little or no rain over the Waldo Canyon burn scar at 9:38 p.m., but a line of moderate rainfall was headed that way. So the flash flood warning remains in effect.

Some locations expected to experience late-night flooding include western Colorado Springs, the Air Force Academy, Manitou Springs and Ute Pass communities.

Officials in Green Mountain Falls and Cascade praised mitigation efforts that they said blunted much of Wednesday's flooding. 

Cascade Fire Chief Mike Whittemore said a detention basin built at the top of Topeka Avenue took about 70 percent of the flow off the Waldo Canyon burn scar.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.

More road closures in El Paso County: Sanborn at the intersection of Baggett; Sanborn east of Ellicott Road; Baggett Road north of Sanborn; Franceville Coal Mine south from Colorado 94; Handle Road between Ellicott Road and Baggett Road; Truckton Road between Johnson Road and County Line.

Manitou Springs is still expecting a surge of water down Fountain Creek from Cascade after the latest round of storms.

Flooding in Security is keeping residents of Peaceful Valley Estates from getting home, according to the Security Fire Department.

UPDATE 9:20 p.m.

El Paso County Search and Rescue is staging in Ute Pass for possible evacuations and rescue.

Manitou Springs spokesman David Hunting said there are no evacuations in Manitou Springs, and the creeks - so far - have stayed in their banks. However, the evacuation center in town remains open.

Meanwhile, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office says Sanborn Road at Baggett is closed.

Green Mountain Falls Mayor Lorrie Worthey said Fountain Creek was running high but stayed in its banks "for the most part."


UPDATE 8:35 p.m.

Flash flood warning until 11:30 p.m. for El Paso County. Impacted areas include southern Colorado Springs, Fountain, Calhan and Fort Carson.

Fountain Creek at the Green Willow Motel, south of U.S. 24 in Manitou Springs, is running high and barely within its banks. There is street flooding throughout west Colorado Springs and in Manitou.

UPDATE 8:10 p.m.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office says evacautions are underway in Manitou Springs. Streets into Manitou are shut down.

Street flooding throughout the region caused by torrential rain.

UPDATE 8 p.m.

U.S. 24 closed west of Cascade due to mud on the highway. CDOT enroute with plow.

Debris also reported in Mountain Shadows.

UPDATE 7:50 p.m.

Torrential rains on the west side of Colorado Springs, and flood sirens are sounding again in Manitou Springs.

The evacuation center at the Historic Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave., is open.

Most of El Paso County is under flash flood warning as new storms move through.

Water is flowing fast and hard down burn scar in Waldo Canyon (

UPDATE 7:36 p.m.

A new flash flood warning issued for El Paso County and U.S. 24 has been closed again. The flash flood warning is in effect until after 10 p.m. for northwestern El Paso County and central El Paso County.


UPDATE 6:50 p.m.

The flash flood warning issued for El Paso County until 8:45 p.m. no longer includes Colorado Springs, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.  Other areas in the southern and eastern parts of the county, including Trucktown, Rush and Yoder, remain under the warning.

There’s still a chance of storms throughout the region, however.

“We’ll probably see some rain a little later, but not quite as heavy as it was earlier,” said  meteorologist Pamela Evenson.


UPDATE 4:35 p.m.

U.S. 24 through Ute Pass has reopened, but the region remains under a flash flood warning. The warning is in effect in El Paso County until 6:45 p.m. and in Lincoln and Elbert counties until 7:15 p.m.

The severe thunderstorm warnings for El Paso County have been lifted.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.

Colorado State Patrol reports flood debris on westbound U.S. 24, which is being cleaned up. The highway remains closed.

Manitou Avenue and Canon Avenue also are closed in Manitou Springs, and no westbound traffic is being allowed into the city. City spokesman Dave Hunting says Fountain and Williams creeks are within their channel banks, and no significant damages or injuries have been reported.

Colorado Springs police report street flooding and debris along 30th street.

Although the heavy rain has moved east, the threat of more storms continues through the evening.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.

Colorado 94 east of Colorado Springs is closed due to flooding, the Colorado State Patrol reports.

The National Weather Service says up to 2 inches of rain has fallen in El Paso County and the flash flood warning is extended to 6:45 p.m.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.

Evacuation center opening at Historic Congregational Church, 103 Pawness Ave. in Manitou Springs.

Colorado Springs Fire Department says it has numerous reports of vehicles stranded in water, and advises motorist to stay out of standing water. Street flooding reported throughout region. Cimarron Hill Fire Department also is reponding to reports of flooding.

Amid all the rain, CSFD is working two apparent lightning-caused house fires on Candleflower Circle and Flax Court.

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.

National Weather Service issues a new severe thunderstorm warning for northeastern El Paso County areas until 4:15 p.m.

1.15 inches of rain fell near Peterson Air Force Base in about 30 minutes.

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.

Dave Hunting, spokesman for Manitou Springs, said water is coming down both Waldo and Williams canyons, which could bring flooding to Manitou Springs and U.S. 24. The highway is closed in both directions.

Reports of street flooding: 8th Street and Moreno, Constitution and Akers, Constitution and Powers, Chelton and Santa Rosa, Nevada and Garden of the Gods, Centennial Blvd.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.

Colorado Springs police report. 1.5 feet of standing water at Chelton Road and Santa Rosa and ask motorists to avoid the area.

Other street flooding reported at: Nevada Avenue and Garden of the Gods Road, Centenial Blvd.

Gazette photographer Michael Ciaglo reports that the rain has stopped in Manitou Springs, but runoff is coming down the burn scar and flood sirens continue to sound. Reporter Stephen Hobbs says many cars are headed out of Manitou.

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.

USGS camera on Waldo Canyon shows water rushing down the burn scar. Weather service reports that half inch of rain on the burn scar in 30 minutes.

Flood warning sirens are going off in Manitou Springs.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.

Torrential rain reported over Manitou Springs and moving into Colorado Springs. Reporters say there is some street flooding on the west side of Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs police flood patrols on the west side monitoring waterways.

Sizeable hail reported in north Colorado Springs.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.

A flash flood warning has been issued for Teller County and northwestern El Paso County, including the Waldo Canyon burn scar until 5:45 p.m. Crews are shutting down U.S. 24. A severe thunderstorm also has been issued for the region.

According to the National Weather Service in Pueblo, heavy rain between Woodland Park and Chipita Park is expected.

Impacted areas include western Colorado Springs, the Air Force Academy, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, Cascade and Cystola.

Golf-ball sized hail and damaging winds are possible, according to the Weather Service.

Earlier story:

Thunderstorms this afternoon and evening could produce heavy rain and flooding in areas of southern Colorado, the National Weather Service in Pueblo said.

A flash flood warning was in effect for about an hour for parts of east Colorado Springs and eastern El Paso County before it was canceled early Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said. The National Weather Service also briefly issued a severe thunderstorm warning for central El Paso County for a storm that could have brought quarter-sized hail and 60 mph winds, but instead weakened.

A flood advisory was also in effect for the Waldo Canyon Burn Scar for about an hour.

Despite the cancelation of the warnings and advisory, a flash flood watch remains in effect for most of the region until this evening.

El Paso and Teller Counties could see flooding, the National Weather Service said, as well as other areas that have had heavy rainfall since last Friday.

Dr. Patrick Cullen, superintendent for the Ellicott School District 22, said summer school classes for the elementary school were cancelled Wednesday because a nearby pump station flooded. He said about 90 kids were affected.

"It's been pretty significant out here," Cullen said of the rain.

Multiple roads were damaged in southeastern El Paso County due to the storms and flooding this week. Milne Road south of Myers Road remains closed but is expected to reopen Thursday. Myers Road, west of Squirrel Creek, has one lane open to traffic, and repairs are also expected to be completed Thursday.

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