Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content VIDEO: Highway 24 back open after mudslides, flooding

By Daniel Chacon Updated: July 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm

UPDATE

7:09 p.m. - According to Colorado State Patrol and other reports, westbound Highway 24 is now open to traffic.

6:07 p.m. - Eastbound Highway 24 is now open, the sheriff's office reports. Westbound remains closed.

5:55 p.m. - El Paso County Sheriff's Office said water was up to 30 inches deep in places at the height of flooding in Black Forest. Shoup road was briefly closed.

5:10 p.m. - Transportation being arranged to bring those people stranded on Hwy 24 to the shelter at 103 Pawnee Ave, the sheriff's office tweeted.

Eastbound and westbound Highway 24 remains closed between 31st Street in Colorado Springs and Cascade.  CDOT estimates eastbound will reopen in about half hour - one vehicle needs to be removed - and westbound in 1 to 1 and a half hours. About 15 vehicles need to be removed from the roadway, Bob Wilson CDOT spokesman said in an email.

Minor flooding occurred at Cascade. More intense flooding occurred at Waldo Canyon and Rainbow Falls. Debris included rocks, logs and mud, he said.

No injuries or road damage have been reported. 

4:40 p.m. - The El Paso County Sheriff's Office tweeted reports of some vehicles stuck in debris on Highway 24 near mile marker 297, although there are no known injuries. Due to rocks/debris on road, Highway 24 remains closed in both directions between 31st Street and Pikes Peak Highway.

4:30 p.m. - The El Paso County Sheriff's Office tweeted that a shelter has opened in Manitou Springs at Historic Community Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave.

Manitou police are asking people to move to the south side of the creek as a precaution, Gazette reporter Daniel Chacon reports.

4:20 p.m. - In Black Forest, Shoup Road was closed briefly west and east of Crump Road due to water and debris obstructions, El Paso County spokesperson Lt. Jeff Kramer said. It was opened a little after 4 p.m.

4:15 p.m. - National Weather Service measured over an inch of rain at upper Waldo Canyon before 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, a large amount for the burn scar vulnerable to flooding.

The service's Pueblo office issued flash flood warnings to the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest burn areas at about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Severe thunderstorm warnings went out to southwest El Paso County, northeast Fremont County and south-central Teller County earlier in the afternoon.

Just before 4 p.m., the storm cell was passing through Colorado Springs, Jennifer Stark, a meteorologist at the service, said. Calhan and Peyton also saw severe activity, she said.

"So far we haven't had much flooding reports in Manitou Springs or Cascade, so that's good, but certainly it's impacting travel," Stark said.

Lightning is a concern throughout the region, Stark said, and people should move indoors for safety. The service expected the potential for thunderstorms to remain high into the evening.

"There's a lot of moisture in the atmosphere and today we had a lot of sun, so that helped destabilize the atmosphere," Stark said.

4:10 p.m. - Eastbound Highway 24 is closed at Cascade, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.

4:05 p.m. - Colorado Springs Utilities is reporting multiples power outages in neighborhoods on the west side of Colorado Springs and in northern Colorado Springs.

3:55 p.m. - A Red Cross shelter for Waldo Canyon flood victims has opened at 1st Congregational Church, 101 Pawnee Dr. in Manitou Springs. If flooding imminent move up to shelter.

3:45 p.m. - Camp Creek, on the west side of Colorado Springs near Garden of the Gods, is also flooding, according to scanner traffic

3:35 p.m. - Highway 24 is closed at 31 Street because of mudslides or rockslides west of Cave of the Winds. CDOT is at work clearing debris, according to Colorado Springs Police Department.

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The National Weather Service in Pueblo has issued a flash flood warning for the Waldo Canyon burn scar until 6 p.m.

"People should be moving to higher ground at once if they're in the warning area," meteorologist Patrick Cioffi said.

The warning covers Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, Cascade, Chipita and much of the U.S. Highway 24 corridor between Manito and Crystola. The warning also covers western Colorado Springs, including Queens Canyon, 31st Street and other drainages coming down from the Waldo Canyon burn scar.

Earlier, the weather service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for north-central El Paso County, including Monument, Black Forest and the Air Force Academy.

Quarter-size hail and 60 mile per hour winds are possible, Cioffi said.

"We're not expecting any flash flooding at this time," he said.

The warning is in effect until 3 p.m.

"People and animals outdoors will be injured," the warning states. "Expect hail damage to roofs, siding, windows and vehicles. Expect wind damage to roofs, siding and trees."

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