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Flood monitoring equipment comes to Williams Canyon

By Eric Fink, Multimedia Journalist, eric.fink@krdo.com
Published On: Jul 15 2014 07:15:26 PM CDT

A 24-7 video camera and a rain gauge will help monitor future flooding in Williams Canyon.

Manitou Springs, CO -

The Colorado Department of Transportation and the U.S. Geological Survey are teaming up to put in rain monitoring equipment in Williams Canyon.

The equipment will help residents and experts prepare for the next flood in the area.

Tuesday, a helicopter carried a rain gauge that will help measure the height and depth of a flood as well as a 24/7 video camera that will help monitor rushing water in the canyon.

"What it's going to do is bolster our existing system in place to monitor flood waters coming out of the Waldo Canyon burn scar," CDOT project manager Andy Stecklein said. "When we get that information it will allow our forces to make an educated determination if Highway 24 needs to be closed down or not."

While floods are a constant worry, there's another risk that has geologists even more concerned.

"A debris flow moves much quicker than an actual flood," Bill Payne with the USGS said. "With the video camera we'll be able to see what type of material is moving and that will help to determine what's coming."

Payne knows the technology is not a cure, rather the latest warning system for a flood-prone community.

CDOT hopes to have all the equipment up and running in the next few weeks. A camera and rain gauges were installed in Waldo Canyon last November.

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