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Rain brings flash flooding issues to southern Colorado on 4th of July

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Rain that fell heavily at times on Sunday afternoon lowered the fire danger but produced flash flooding that authorities and drivers had to deal with.

One affected area was the east end of the MLK Bypass eastbound, as high water forced many drivers to drive slowly around or through it; other drivers, however, enjoyed speeding through the water and splashing it as much as they could.

Not far from there, water was even higher on Hancock Expressway, under the South Circle Drive bridge. Police responded to provide traffic control and guide drivers through in one direction at a time.

The flooding, however, didn't stop a fire truck from roaring through on its way to an emergency.

The three-way intersection of Siferd Boulevard and Date Street also flooded, as it always does during and after heavy rain. Debris from the flooding was three feet high -- the same height as a measuring sign placed where the water drains into a ditch.

It used to be a place where firefighters often conducted rescues of people in stalled vehicles, but that changed last year when gates were installed. Fire Station 10, at the nearby intersection of Academy and Meadowland boulevards, is responsible for closing the gates to keep vehicles out, and reopening them after a storm passes.

Even though the flow of water had decreased to a trickle by Sunday night, Station 10 Capt. Gabriel Blanco said that the gates would remain closed in case more rain fell.

"We know that some people don't like that, detouring and waiting for us to open the gates," he said. "But it's all about safety for us."

The force of the flooding Sunday was enough to break pieces of asphalt off the intersection. Earlier this year, workers filled numerous potholes there that likely were caused by previous flooding.

Drivers and neighbors said that they'd like to see the roads at the intersection raised, and for water to drain underneath.

Because the intersection is surrounded by the city limits but is actually part of unincorporated El Paso County, both entities are exploring long-term solutions -- which include closing the intersection permanently or spending millions of dollars to improve drainage in the area.

Blanco said that he worries about vegetation that continues to grow high and thick because of the wet spring and summer.

"When all of that dries out -- and it will eventually -- that's going to leave a lot of potential fuel for fires," he said.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. Who does manage, plan, test, and clean our storm drain systems to verify they work as good as they do now?

  2. The rain also made it impossible to see the thousands of deep potholes that plague our roads in ColoFornia Springs causing untold thousands of dollars of car damage. Thanks mayor southers for the incompetence but keep pushing for large unaffordable housing for the benefit of all your wealthy developer buddies.

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