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Snow plows used in recovery after storm hammers Colorado Springs area with floodwaters, hail

August 29, 2016 Updated: August 30, 2016 at 5:54 am
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CSPD officers Eric Reed, left, and E. Ohle carry a motorist from his car after he became stranded in a flooded intersection at Wilamette Place and Tiajuana Street Monday afternoon, August 29, 2016. Obscured in this photo is Colorado Springs community service officer Mattew Barnett, who aided in the rescue. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Knee-high water, stranded cars, road closures, water rescues and thick hail were just some of the byproducts of a powerful storm that hammered Colorado Springs and other parts of El Paso County on Monday afternoon.

The flooding outside of Milt's Coffee Shop on East Platte Avenue surged in ocean-like waves toward the building when cars drove by Monday afternoon, according to one of its owners, Sharon Miyamoto.

"We've got water, we've got hail, we've got dirt, we've got everything from outside on the inside now," Miyamoto said.

Out in the parking lot, she waded through knee-deep water. Inside the shop, it was up to her ankles.

The shop, which Miyamoto and her husband, Kelly, bought more than two years ago, will be closed Tuesday while employees help clean up the damage.

The highest rainfall total between Sunday and Monday evening was found four miles northwest of Peterson Air Force Base, according to Eric Peterson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo. It amounted to 4.11 inches, 2.56 of which fell Monday afternoon.

Crews clean up the hail at the corner of Logan Avenue and Bijou street after a storm hit Colorado Springs Monday, Aug. 28, 2016. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Crews clean up the hail at the corner of Logan Avenue and Bijou street after a storm hit Colorado Springs Monday, Aug. 28, 2016. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

Most areas in the city received between one and two inches Sunday night, Peterson said, leaving the ground saturated when rain fell Monday. Between two and three inches hit some parts of Colorado Springs Monday afternoon, he said.

The flash flood warning for northeastern El Paso County, which included Colorado Springs, expired at 4:30 p.m. because "the heavy rain has ended," "flood waters have receded" and "flooding is no longer expected to pose a threat," according to the National Weather Service.

But other areas of El Paso and Pueblo counties were under flash flood warnings through 7:45 p.m.

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Sharon Miyamoto, owner of Milt's Coffee Shop on E. Platte Ave. walks through her flood diner after a storm on Monday, August 29, 2016. The longtime coffee shop was flooded with several inches of slushy water and hail during the storm. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette 

Central Colorado Springs was hit the worst, according to Brian Bledsoe, chief meteorologist for Gazette news partner KKTV. Between two and three inches hit that area in about an hour's time, and "rainfall rate is a huge deal," Bledsoe said, especially because flooding worsens when drainages can't handle the flow.

During this storm, some drainages were clogged by hail.

Storms will become fewer and less widespread over the next several days, Bledsoe said.

But the risk of flash flooding will continue through this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures will remain below average, and through mid-week, heavy rain is possible "with an elevated flash flood threat continuing for burn scars and already saturated locations," according to a weather service tweet.

There's a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms and showers Tuesday afternoon and a 30 percent chance into the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

On Wednesday, a 30 percent chance of showers in the afternoon will turn into a 20 percent chance in the evening.

Though it's still August, snow plows were dispatched after significant hail fell across Colorado Springs, said city spokeswoman Kim Melchor.

The city's Streets Division had eight snow plows and several front-end loaders out Monday, Melchor said.

The rain lasted for hours in many parts of the county, flooding county roads and city streets and causing some cars to get stuck because of high water or thick hail.

Melchor said many of the road closures in the city were temporary, and roads reopened after the rain began to let up.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department performed to eight water rescues Monday afternoon, and the Colorado Springs Police Department responded to 22 weather-related calls, Melchor said.

Police went on accident alert for about two and a half hours Monday afternoon "due to severe weather across the city."

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