Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rain threatens burn area

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Rain hasn't yet caused major problems in the Waldo Canyon fire burn area, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa reports to us minutes ago.

Although rainfall, which began this morning, has raised Fountain Creek by 12 to 18 inches, Maketa said the burn area appears to be handling the moisture without causing shifting soils.

"But the National Weather Service is tracking two fronts with moderate to heavy rain," Maketa says. "One is to the north and could be moving over the burn area, and one to the south is bouncing around, but they're concerned it could move in the direction of the burn area where both would converge."

Maketa said his Emergency Operations Center is partially staffed and monitoring conditions.

"If we get heavy rains, we will see mudslides and flooding," he says.

City spokeswoman Julie Smith reports this via e-mail:

We have had a couple of guys from our Streets Division and Stormwater Engineering out in that area to check on things this morning. Everything was fine and flowing normally as of the report I heard at around 9 a.m. The City is continuing to monitor the area for flooding throughout the day.
One of the Streets supervisors is headed over to the area right now so there may be an update in about half an hour if you want to check back. We don't expect the report to have changed much.

We received this flood advisory in our in-box this morning from AccuWeather:

Flood Threat Shifts to Colorado, New Mexico

September 12, 2012 — State College, PA-
While Southern California, Nevada and western Arizona trend toward drier conditions Wednesday, the risk of flash flooding will increase in Colorado and New Mexico.

Cities at risk for disruptive downpours and urban flooding include Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Vail, Aspen, Durango, Montrose and Alamosa in Colorado and Sante Fe, Albuquerque and Las Vegas, N.M.
Flash flooding will also be a threat into parts of southeastern Utah and eastern Arizona.
A moist and unsettled air mass will bubble into dangerous, slow-moving thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening hours.
In some areas, rainfall will exceed one inch or more in a couple of hours. Places that receive rainfall of this magnitude will have rapid flooding of small streams and normally dry washes.
Along steep canyons, ravines and mountainsides, dangerous mudflows and rockslides are possible.
If you will be driving though mountain and back country roads, hiking wilderness trails, camping or sightseeing, be prepared for flooding.
Be sure to have a plan of action and to let someone know which trails or roads you will be taking.
Keep a keen eye to the sky. Rapidly building clouds and thunder may be your only hint of what may soon follow.
Flood waters can travel a long distance from the origin of the rainfall through dry wash channels and stream/creek/river beds.
Aside from the dangers of flash flooding, the rainfall is greatly needed over the region. Downpours will shift toward Texas and Oklahoma to end the week, where rain is in tremendous need.
Check back often with for the latest on this and for all your weather needs.

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