Rainfall this week over the Waldo Canyon burn scar has prompted flooding alerts and warnings throughout the Pikes Peak region, and even closed Highway 24 west of Manitou Springs for much of Monday night. Fire information officer Rob Deyerberg says despite the mudslides that closed the route that night, rainfall has been hit-or-miss, and the impacts could be more severe.
"The potential for that to happen and bring material down into areas with homes is also very very large. There’s a number of drainages that lead right into occupied areas in both Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. And we’re not saying that to bring up the fear factor, it’s more to bring up the alert, be aware and prepared for that, it’s a potential."
Deyerberg reminds folks to seek higher ground when under flash flood warnings.
As to Highway 24, Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Bob Wilson says they’re keeping maintenance vehicles stored nearby, have installed rain gauges that can send workers alerts, and also continuously work to ensure culverts are clear. But, Wilson says there’s only so much the agency can do to prepare for a flood event.
"All these are efforts to stay ahead of the storm if you will, but if you get overwhelmed by one storm, that can wipe out all your efforts in one fell swoop."
Wilson says even if they can’t stop the mud from flowing, they can at least close the road or offer detours in ways that minimize the danger to public safety.
Colorado will take center stage in the coming days in the presidential race. Republican candidate Mitt Romney plans to visit Jefferson County and Basalt this week, while President Barack Obama plans to visit four cities next week, including Pueblo and Colorado Springs.