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Colorado Springs makes flash flood preparations

Published On: Jul 25 2012 10:48:12 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 26 2012 12:07:42 AM CDT

Crews in Colorado Springs removing obstructions.

The Colorado Springs Streets Division said all west side drainage channels have been inspected to handle additional runoff from the Waldo Canyon burn area.

Local officials have emphasized the need for public awareness of an increased flooding risk because the burn area will be unable to soak up runoff for several years.

Bard Lower, the division's operations manager, said some channels may not be completely clean, but all should allow runoff from heavy rain to flow freely.

The drainage channel along 31st Street is clean after workers cut down weeds that were several feet high.  Some neighbors worried that the vegetation would clog the channel and worsen a flood.

One neighbor, Danny Hambley, said he has lived near the channel since 1954 and isn't worried about damage from a flood.

"I feel pretty comfortable," he said of the channel.  "It handled the 1965 flood and the 1998 downpour we had.  It seemed to hold up very well."

The Dry Creek drainage ditch on the city's northeast side, however, is full of vegetation and has homes lined up on both sides.  Lower said because of limited resources, it's in a group of ditches that can be cleaned only every few years.

"I could see where the ditch could absorb water," said neighbor Ryan Lohmeyer.  "But, I also could see where it could make things worse.  It's hard to say until a flood actually comes."

"You'd have to have 40 feet of water in this ditch, to get to my basement," another neighbor, Joshua Boddie, said.  "But, for a lot of people who are lower, it could be a problem."

Lower said the stormwater enterprise fee, which ended several years ago, would have provided more money for cleaning and maintenance of drainage channels.

Local waterways like Fountain Creek and Monument Creek also have been inspected by crews, said Lower, and should be ready to handle a heavy runoff.


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