The Stormtracker 13 forecast shows ample amounts of rain in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday. This will be welcomed across much of Colorado in its current state of drought. However, the threat for rain over the Waldo Canyon burn scar is prompting flash flood concern throughout the community.
The city of Colorado Springs said they have been planning for this type of an event since the Waldo Canyon Fire was contained in 2012. Ken Hughlett, emergency management coordinator, said the city has teamed up with several agencies to ensure flood mitigation efforts were put into place.
He said traps and basins have been created in an attempt to catch sliding debris. Vegetation also has been planted to help absorb water.
“We’re taking all the steps necessary,” he said.
Hughlett said debris, like trees and boulders, will cause damage if they are swept down the mountainside by flash flooding. He said debris inclusion is a major reason why people should never venture into the flash flood.
He said it is important for people to take responsibility and know the threat to their home. Click here for an interactive map to assess the risk at your home.
Residents should know what path they will take to get to higher ground, and they should discuss this plan with their families. Parents should be familiar with the flood plan for their child’s school.
Having important documents and information protected in the higher levels of the home, as well as extra batteries, flashlights and bottled water are recommended.
Hughlett said residents should not wait for instructions if they feel threatened.
“If you’re in the event, don’t wait for the evacuation phone call. Leave. Take some responsibility. Get out of your area,” he said.
He said multiple agencies have been meeting on a weekly basis to go over risk factors and response plans. Personnel will also be monitoring each of the high risk areas constantly throughout days when rain is expected.
Hughlett said it is important for residents to understand that flash flooding will be something that has to be monitored for years to come. He said residents need to always be ready and proactive.
“We don’t know when it’s going to happen. It could happen tomorrow with this rain. It could just be a couple years down the road, but we always need to be vigilant because you never know when that big flash flood is going to happen,” said Hughlett.