More rain soaks already-saturated Colorado Springs; flash flood watch Monday

September 15, 2013 Updated: September 16, 2013 at 8:09 am
photo - A man looked out the window of his truck after it stalled in rising water near Circle Dr. and Fountain Blvd. on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013.  Many streets were flooded with rainwater during several heavy storms on Sunday. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
A man looked out the window of his truck after it stalled in rising water near Circle Dr. and Fountain Blvd. on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. Many streets were flooded with rainwater during several heavy storms on Sunday. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

Colorado Springs got very little breathing room from rainfall over the weekend. After a relatively quiet Saturday, the skies turned dark gray Sunday afternoon and dropped up to 3.5 inches of rain over central parts of the city, according to the National Weather Service.

"The largest amount of rain fell over Academy Boulevard: We got reports of flooded intersections, stalled vehicles and water rescues of stranded drivers," said meteorologist Makoto Moore.



El Paso and Teller counties are under a flash flood watch from 2 to 10 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.


A line of storms moved east at a glacial pace of 5 mph, having plenty of time to soak the already saturated area and prompting the weather service to issue a flash flood warning that was in effect until 5:30 p.m., when favorable weather conditions prompted its cancellation. All lanes of southbound Powers Boulevard were closed at Barnes Road around 2 p.m. as more than a foot and a half of water flooded the intersection, stranding one motorist and requiring Colorado Springs police to reroute traffic, adding to traffic woes for drivers.

Just down the road, on Tutt Boulevard and North Carefree Circle, water was rushing over sidewalks and splashing on the hoods of slow-moving vehicles.

Off Austin Bluffs Parkway, at the intersection of Siferd Boulevard and Dale Street, Colorado Springs fire rescued a couple from the back of a pickup that got stranded in rushing waters from an overflowing creek. A nearby sign warned drivers to avoid the intersection during rainfall.

"This spot floods every time it rains. That's why we've got the sign up," said an El Paso County Sheriff's Office deputy, who watched the intersection to keep drivers and onlookers out. "If this creek doesn't have a name by now, they should give it one because it's sure running full."

The flash flood warning included Waldo Canyon and Manitou Springs, where combined rain amounts totaled about two inches, Moore said.

Sutherland Creek overflowed considerably and prompted the closure of the eastbound lanes of Manitou Avenue by the interchange with U.S. 24 until flood waters receded, Manitou Springs spokesman Dave Hunting said.

"The creeks have been running full today but stayed in their banks," Hunting said. "For the most part, the town's fared well through Sunday's storms."

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. 24 from Manitou Springs to Cascade for almost three hours, until the flash flood warning was canceled at 7 p.m., in line with the agency's protocol through the end of September.

A portion of Manitou Avenue under U.S. 24 will remain closed until Monday as transportation workers clear a culvert on Sutherland Creek.

"All lanes of eastbound Manitou Avenue are closed under U.S. 24, traffic can detour via Ridge Road," transportation spokesman Bob Wilson said. "CDOT is cleaning the culvert because it is plugged up, forcing water and debris down the street."

Colorado Springs and El Paso County remained under a small stream flood advisory until 10 p.m. and a flash flood watch until midnight Sunday, because the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar indicated heavy rain over the southeast corner of the county as well as light to moderate rainfall over the eastern part of the county.

"We'll all get a break over the coming week, as conditions dry out and temperatures climb a bit," Moore said. "There will be very little chance of precipitation, which is music to our ears right now. We've been in a drought for so long and it's nice to have rain, but not all at once."

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