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City concerned about flash flood filled with debris

Tuesday's meeting focuses on areas around Douglas Creek

City concerned about flash flood filled with debris

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The city of Colorado Springs hosted a flash flood preparedness meeting for businesses and residents along North and South Douglas Creeks on Tuesday.  Surrounding neighborhoods -- areas near Flying W Ranch Road, Centennial Blvd. and parts of Mountain Shadows -- were directly impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire.

If a flash flood were to occur, the water would not be high and clear, according to Colorado Springs Division of Emergency Management.  It would be fast-moving and filled with debris.

Bret Waters, director of the Emergency Management Division, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that most people are not used to seeing the conditions the city could face.

The meetings are intended to inform residents of their risk and to plan accordingly.  Representatives from the police department, fire department, Colorado Springs Utilities and emergency services were present.

"We want residents to be empowered with information," Waters said. "Really it boils down to individuals and families being prepared and having a plan."

Suzanne Metzger lives near Douglas Creek and attended the meeting on Tuesday. Metzger was evacuated during the Waldo Canyon Fire and found herself off-guard when the time came to leave.

"When we were evacuated before, I had a dog and she was left behind and it was really traumatic for me," Metzger said.  

Metzger came to the meeting to find out what she can do to prepare for a flash flood.

Timothy Mitros, stormwater manager for Colorado Springs Public Works, talked about what the city is doing to prepare for flash flooding.

Because of the loss of vegetation over the Waldo Canyon burn scar, runoff potential is three to 10 times higher. 

Mitros explained that the city has five debris catchments in place to help stop debris from flowing into neighborhoods.  More catchments are in the works and each are expected to last for ten years. 

The city is also doing aerial mulching in areas around Douglas Creek.

The public is encouraged to view maps online to determine their flood risk.

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