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Manitou Springs buried by long-feared floods
Jul 24, 2013

MANITOU SPRINGS — What was warned about for months since last year's deadly Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs finally happened: flash flooding near the burn scar that shoved debris into homes and moved vehicles.

More than a half inch of rain fell in less than 20 minutes Monday, causing mud to flow into 20 houses in Manitou Springs and western Colorado Springs. The downpour forced more than 160 people to evacuate a trailer park, and it closed U.S. 24 for several hours.

Tuesday afternoon, residents and business owners were picking their way through the river of mud and debris that flowed down Cañon Avenue, moving at least one home off its foundation. Insurance adjusters were surveying the damage. Dust from the dried mud clouded the air.

George Davis, who lives on Cañon above the hardest-hit homes, said he saw a wall of debris 6- or 7-feet deep flowing down the street. His Toyota 4Runner was pushed up against the fence.

"We hear this rumble, grumble, man, like a train," he said. "We grabbed the dogs and went to the roof. It was nuts, dude. Nobody was prepared at all.

"Fire, flood and locusts are next," he said as he worked to clean up his yard. "I'll take the locusts."

Businesses lucky enough to have sandbags — and the people to properly place them — kept some of the flow at bay.

"We had a ton of sandbags, but it's hard to know where you should position the sandbags," said Doreen McKnight, a supervisor at the swank Cliff House hotel. "It's hard to know which way it's comin' and where it's gonna go. But I think it's gonna keep happening."

The potential for flooding has worried officials since the June 2012 Waldo Canyon fire burned 347 homes and killed two people.

El Paso County, Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs have held briefings for residents on the threat of flash flooding in the burn scar area.

In June, the U.S. Agriculture Department said it was sending

Kim Moses, her children and a neighbor survey damage to her mother
Kim Moses, her children and a neighbor survey damage to her mother's Manitou Springs house after a downpour washed over the Waldo Canyon burn scar and streamed through houses, streets and businesses. Mud flowed into 20 houses in Manitou Springs and western Colorado Springs. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)
nearly $20 million to repair watersheds and mitigate flood potential in both the Waldo Canyon fire and High Park fire burn areas. Work includes mulching, reseeding and shoring up water channels.

Read more: Manitou Springs buried by long-feared floods - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23583587/manitou-springs-cleans-up-from-flash-flood-rain#ixzz2ZyqE1l51
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