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Flood threatens Manitou for 2nd time in 10 days

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Jul 10 2013 10:51:33 PM CDT

Several stores forced to close and evacuate for the second time in ten days. No mess this time, however.

Wednesday's flash flood was a mixed blessing for Manitou Springs business owners who have dealt with the risk twice this month already.

Fortunately, the muddy water remained in Fountain Creek, which flows behind many shops.  In the July 1 flood, much of that water spilled onto streets and sidewalks, and into many stores.

Alan Kerns, owner of the Penny Arcade on Manitou Avenue, cleaned the mess from his place after the earlier flood.  On Wednesday, he said authorities began ordering his business, and others, to close and evacuate the area.

"I have my crew, which I'm paying right now, staying here in case we do reopen -- because during the last (flood), we did reopen," said Kerns.  "This is our busiest time of the year.  This could be my busiest week of the year, and it hurts not to have the income."

Erica, a manager at the nearby Safron clothing store, said she was glad that businesses were closed as a precaution, but frustrated that some shop owners apparently ignored the orders to close and remained open.

"Forty-five minutes after the first alarm went off, (authorities) started coming by, saying we had to evacuate across the street," she said.  "So for the last 90 minutes (of the flood warning), we just sat and watched our business sit closed while others stayed open.  I don't understand why."

Erica said she understands the need for safety, but questioned whether closures were necessary since the creek didn't flood.

"We were watching from a window and could see that the water in the creek was well below the window," she said.  "It's frustrating to be told to close when there's no flood."

Kerns said he'd like for authorities to be more specific in telling business owners what to expect during a flood warning.

"If there's a 20-foot wall of water or trees coming down the creek, I definitely want to know that," he said.  "But if it's less than that -- like today -- I need to know that, too.

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