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Manitou Springs weather flooded highway, potential risk

Manitou Springs still attracting crowds despite flood threat

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Business in Manitou Springs is bustling again despite being one day removed from a muddy mess on Highway 24, the main road into the city.

Visitors were in from Kansas and Oklahoma. They said they saw video of cars being washed away by mud slides but it didn't keep them from visiting Manitou Avenue.

In fact, some believe it drives more visitors in.

"They're kind of excited," said Laura Jamison, who works at Patsy's Candies. "They're like, 'Oh, it's still here? Let's go see what happened.'  So it kind of attracts more people I think."

Even if the flash floods and threat of flash flooding draws curiosity, a spokesman for the Manitou Springs Fire Department said safety is paramount when steady or heavy rain sits over the Waldo Canyon burn scar.

"When you hear the siren go off in Manitou Springs or if you hear a weather alert on your phone or telephone you should be nowhere near the creek -- we cannot stress that enough," said David Hunting with the Manitou Springs Fire Department.

Hunting said response to this flood was much better than the one July 1. He credits better communication between emergency responders and members of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, a conservation group helping with flood preparations.

Mother Nature also deserves some credit. Rainwater found a channel through Waldo Canyon during this rain leading to major road flooding. It was not as much overrun into Fountain Creek, which led to flooded businesses in Manitou Springs. That rainfall was more over the Williams Canyon area.

Hunting said firefighters knew about this storm sooner than the last one as well. Because of that, flood sirens went off an hour before the first mud slides hit Highway 24.

Hunting said Manitou Springs residents should be prepared not scared. He said that means listening to weather reports every morning and having a mobile app or weather radio handy to warn you about flash flood warnings and watches.

Business owners want to stress that if there is no imminent danger Manitou Springs shops and restaurants are open and ready for customers.

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