Colorado weather: I-70 reopen in Denver, more storms forecast for Southern Colorado Monday

after the new I-70 underpass through Elyria Swansea flooded. Aug. 7, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Cars sit stranded on the new I-70 underpass through Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood after heavy rains flooded the area on Aug. 7, 2022.

The Denver Fire Department rescued at least 19 people from flooded roadways Sunday evening after a storm dumped more than 2 inches of rain on parts of the city in a matter of minutes. 

A stretch of I-70 in northeast Denver closed for several hours after water pooled in a newly-constructed section of the highway, stranding hundreds of drivers.

The fire department also pulled at least 8 people from another flooded underpass at 38th and Blake streets, said J.D. Chism, a DFD lieutenant. 

“That included multiple children and a baby,” Chism said. “There were multiple other locations where drivers were stranded that we’re still getting reports from.”

A spokesperson for the contractor building that section of the highway said Monday that pumps that typically keep that lowered section of I-70 clear of water did not turn on automatically when they should have.

Most flooded roadways reopened by 10 p.m., Chism said. Firefighters reported no serious injuries from the water rescues.

The sudden dump of rain was triggered by a build-up of moisture in the lower atmosphere over the Front Range, according to the National Weather Service. More than 2 inches fell in about 20 minutes in parts of Westminster, Thornton and Commerce City. 

There’s a slight chance for more rain in Denver on Monday afternoon, but nowhere near as much as Sunday’s storm, said David Barjenbruch, a NWS forecaster. 

“It looks pretty calm in Denver Monday,” Barjenbruch said. “A big high pressure bubble is going to keep most of us on the dry and warm side over the next few days.” 

Higher terrain communities, the southern foothills and the Palmer Divide have a slightly higher chance of storms Monday afternoon. 

Parts of Southern Colorado, including Colorado Springs and Pueblo, can also expect to see windy, rainy weather Monday afternoon. 

This story was updated at 1:24 p.m. to include new information about a possible cause of the flooding on I-70 Sunday night.