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Southwest Colorado Springs neighborhood hit hard

September 13, 2013 Updated: September 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm
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Dave Jackson closes a mailbox with his foot after delivering the mail to a home surrounded on three sides by a flooded Cheyenne Creek Friday, September 13, 2013. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

A normally placid stream behind Stacey Findorff's house in Colorado Springs raged across half of her backyard. Out front, her driveway that lay partially underwater.

It all looked so much better than she remembered.

"It's a trickle compared to last night," Findorff said.

Daybreak on Friday brought a chance to survey the damage of a slow-moving, powerful storm that hammered Cheyenne Canyon, Bear Creek and Fort Carson overnight - washing out driveways and submerging basements.

Much later Friday the situation remained serious. Damage from the floods was widespread, with water from Cheyenne Canyon rushing into houses and flowing into apartment complexes miles away.

"It's still going through people's homes," said Jeff Robinson, a Colorado Springs Fire Department inspector, around 7:45 p.m. on Friday.

Cheyenne Creek near Evans Avenue in Colorado Springs received 11.59 inches of rain this week, with 5.2 inches of that total coming from 2 p.m. Thursday through 2 p.m. Friday, according to a U.S. Geological Survey rain gauge.

Jared Rego, a Colorado Springs spokesman, said that the city would likely release a damage assessment early next week, possibly Monday.

Houses along Cheyenne Road appeared to receive the brunt of the damage. Cheyenne Creek rose above its banks in several spots south of Cheyenne Road.

Three feet of water pooled in the basement of Bill Alexander's house on the 600 block of Cheyenne Road. A pool table and a couch were destroyed. His treadmill sat underwater.

Two stand-up paddle boards rested on top of the water.

"We didn't have to move those out of the way - they just floated," Alexander said, chuckling softly. He ran three water pumps Friday morning to clear the water.

Up the street, Findorff's front yard lay mostly submerged under a couple of feet of water, though her house escaped damage because it sits several feet above the ground. She used sandbags to keep it out of her cellar.

Nearby, the water washed out a driveway, leaving two Lexus cars stuck in the gravel. The water seeped into the nearby house, which also sits on the 600 block of Cheyenne Road.

"For a while, it looked like we were going to make it through," said Alexander, watching a creek-side deck as the water threatened to rip it into the torrent. "This is just so ridiculous."

Police closed a bridge on Cresta Road, as well as Cheyenne Road west of Cresta, after a concrete pedestrian bridge partially fell into the creek. Streets crews worried that if the other half fell in, it would slam into the Cresta Road bridge - blocking the waterway and flooding the surrounding area.

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