Mudslides killed at least one and closed several highways throughout Colorado Tuesday and Wednesday as the state entered monsoon season.
Drivers should prepare for road closures and other traffic-disrupting weather through at least next week, Colorado Department of Transportation officials said, as monsoonal rains that will be around for at least a week continued to threaten flash flooding throughout the state.
Tuesday night, after flash flooding over the Cameron Peak burn scar, a mudslide swept through the Poudre Canyon in northeast Colorado, leaving one person dead and three others missing, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday. Five structures were also destroyed by the mudslide.
That prompted officials to shut down Colorado 14 until around 4 p.m. Wednesday. However, the Poudre River, which was closed Tuesday night so search teams could look through the waters, will remain closed indefinitely.
Those teams are on foot and are using drones to look for three missing adults, up from two on Tuesday, and will continue searching on Thursday. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said it had been able to recover the body of the woman who was swept into the Cache la Poudre River, after they failed to do so Tuesday night.
Five mudslides spilled over Interstate 70 in several locations after the Colorado Department of Transportation issued a safety closure for the highway near Glenwood Canyon Tuesday evening. The closure was originally issued as a precautionary measure, after weather forecasts warned of flash flooding over the Grizzly Creek burn scar, but was quickly followed up on by mudslides.
Transportation officials haven’t yet said how long I-70 will be closed. That closure includes the exits for West Rifle, Canyon Creek, Glenwood Springs, and Dotsero.
South of Glenwood Springs, crews were also working to reopen Colorado 133 near McClure Pass on Wednesday, after at least three mudslides reached the road starting Tuesday night.
Cleaning the debris from those mudslides may take longer than normal, transportation officials said, because there were still mudslides happening in the area. A flash flood warning was in effect for that area until 6:15 p.m.
Further northeast, another mudslide flowed onto Colorado 125 at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, shutting the highway down between Buffalo and Cabin creeks.
.@ColoradoDOT continues to work w/a loader & dump trucks to remove the debris from #CO125. All of the motorists that were stopped in-between the slides have been cleared out & are no longer stranded #grandcounty 📸Credit Grand County Sheriff pic.twitter.com/PsjsCyoKTs— Grand County Sheriff (@GrandCoSheriff) July 22, 2021
A flash flood warning was issued for the area at around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, after the National Weather Service detected at least one thunderstorm over the East Troublesome burn scar and warned that other mudslides may be coming.
🚨 Video of the mudslide this afternoon shutting down CO Hwy 125 between Cabin Creek and Buffalo Creek in Grand County. Find road update information at https://t.co/4JyFGZ9EDQ. 📸 Credit: Grand County Sheriff #grandcounty #grandcountycolorado #coflood #cowx @ColoradoDOT pic.twitter.com/d4usx8IIC0— Grand County Sheriff (@GrandCoSheriff) July 22, 2021