Floods across Colorado impact many

Sept. 16, 2013

Nick Beadleston
[email protected]

Heavy rain across Colorado led to property damage and large-scale evacuations in northern and central parts of the state, ranging from Boulder to Manitou Springs.

Local media reported one Colorado Springs fatality as of Friday morning; a body was discovered by authorities near I-25. This brings the death toll to three, including a fatality near Jamestown and a fatality in Boulder County.

The National Weather Service based out of Pueblo received reports from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network of rainfall from 2-5 inches throughout Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.

CoCoRaHS is a non-profit organization of trained community volunteers who measure and report precipitation.

CoCoRaHS submitted one report, however, of 8.2 inches in an area approximately 2.1 miles southwest of Colorado Springs.

Patrick Cioffi, a meteorologist with the weather service in Pueblo, said that while the average precipitation for September is 1.19 inches, his office is already reporting 1.97 inches for this month.

Coiffi indicated it is too early to make specific precipitation calculations for the coming week. However, the weather service predicts off-and-on showers over the coming week but expects drier conditions to emerge Tuesday through Thursday.

“It doesn’t do a lot for our long-term water supply,” said Patrice Lehermeier, Colorado Springs Utilities’ senior public affairs specialist.

According to Lehermeier, the water deficit in Colorado Springs is too severe to be fixed by sporadic, if heavy, rain. Heavy snow high in the mountains is required to improve water reserves, she said.

Despite power and waste concerns in other areas of the state, utilities in Colorado Springs are secure.

“The system is holding up pretty well,” Lehermeier said.

CSU corrected minor power outages south of the Springs and several natural gas outages in Manitou Springs Thursday night.

Xcel Energy, which provides utilities to areas of the state that have been severely impacted, contacted CSU to request assistance. According to Lehermeier, CSU needed to first gauge the needs of its own customers, then they can lend a hand.

“We do plan for these,” said Lehermeir. “Part of it is preparation, and part of it is just responding in the moment.”