In the cover story "Prey for Rain" this week, we talked to several people who are at the mercy of flash flood waters, and asked them how they felt about watching and waiting.
Today, some of those people got a first taste of what flooding looks like after the Waldo Canyon Fire.
George Davis and Kristen Johnson live in the mouth of Williams Canyon in Manitou Springs. They were shocked to see the water rising in the canyon this afternoon. The flood quickly overtook an undersized drainage pipe, pouring water and mud downhill. The mud set the couple's vehicles afloat, sending them smashing into their fence, which was slightly damaged. Mud and debris ran into the couple's whimsical yard, reaching their doorstep.
George and Kris sought higher ground with their terrified dogs, Milo and Isaac. At this time, the water is still flowing. The men say they think it has washed away part of the road, and it appears water crested to the second floor of a house directly below them. Another home appears to have a log through it.
“I tell you what, it was incredible!” George says, adding that he's been very worried about his neighbors.
Fountain Creek also reached high points. Max and Jean Weissenfluh say they saw black water flowing downstream, but their home is OK. At Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs, heavy black water nearly overflowed the banks, but the restaurant was spared. So was the Timber Lodge downstream, though water was dangerously high.
Jack Benson, city administrator of Manitou Springs says the city is assessing damages. There doesn't appear to be too much around Fountain Creek, but he wasn't aware of the problems at Williams Canyon. Manitou has an advanced emergency plan for flooding, but Benson says this flood took the town by surprise.
“It came out so fast we didn’t have a warning," he says.
The flooding caused evacuations of some residents, warnings to those living in flood-prone areas, and the closure of roads due to flooding and debris flows. A tweet from the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Red Cross says a shelter has opened for evacuees at the Community Congregational Church of Manitou Springs, 103 Pawnee Ave.