MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Residents in Manitou Springs are bracing for more possible flash flooding on Tuesday as they clean up from Monday night’s damaging mud invasion.
About 20 homes in the tourist town just west of Colorado Springs were affected by the flooding Monday, and between six and eight had significant damage.
Flash flooding above the town in the Waldo Canyon Fire burn area is a possibility again, according to CBS4’s Lauren Whitney.
PHOTO GALLERY: Flooding & Cleanup Pics
The heavy rain in the burn area in the evening led to lots of erosion. More than half an inch of rain fell in less than 20 minutes, which sent a large amount of mud down Fountain Creek which runs through town. While the debris was spilling down the creek residents were warned to avoid waterways and low-lying areas.
“The debris coming down from the fire was just unreal,” resident MJ Thomson said. “Our lot was pretty hammered and we had about a five-foot wall of sediment all the way across, but other than we made out pretty good.”
“I rode my bike when it started sprinkling and when I came back my deck was down the street,” resident Laura Hunter said.
Officials closed Highway 24 for a short time Monday night and several RV parks were evacuated for a few hours. About 160 people were affected by the evacuation order.
The owner of the restaurant Adam’s Mountain Café on Manitou Avenue told CBS4 the mud running outside her business was nearly a foot deep at one point.
“It was shocking to see it coming — and to see how fast it was,” Farley McDonough said. “It was so fast. I was really surprised.”
McDonough said town officials weren’t able to get the warning out to her and fellow business owners in time. She said within minutes the mud just starting flowing down the street.
Many residents and business owners piled sandbags next to stairways in an attempt to keep the floodwaters out.
“For a 20-minute rain or a 30-minute rain, to see this much devastation, I’m scared to death to see if we get a huge, huge rain; because that wasn’t very much rain yesterday,” Thomson said.
On Tuesday a major cleanup effort was underway across the town. McDonough said she was headed to a hardware store because they don’t have enough flat shovels to clean up all the mud.
Several streets in the town were closed off for cleaning on Tuesday morning.
The National Weather Service often issues flash flood advisories specifically for areas where there have recently been large wildfires because the vegetation and tree root systems that normally hold soil in place on hillsides is often burned off. The most recent case of major flash flooding damage in a burn area prior to Monday’s mud invasion in Manitou Springs was in 2011 when homes were damaged by mudslides in the burn area in Fourmile Canyon west of Boulder. (Full Story)