The Aug. 9 rainstorm that caused floods off the Waldo Canyon burn scar killed John Collins and injured several other people. It floated cars down U.S. Highway 24 and through Manitou Springs streets, and reportedly destroyed six homes while seriously damaging 11 others. Watch video from the flood here.
But in meteorologic terms, it may not have been of great significance. It's not clear exactly how much water the downpour produced — a hydrologist is expected to report on that later this week — but Tom Magnuson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Pueblo, says he believes the storm was a 5- to 10-year event on the Waldo, Williams and Cascade-area watershed systems.
Williams Canyon likely saw 1.6 inches of rain in 30 minutes or less, with upper Williams getting as much as an inch of rain in 15 minutes. Waldo received an inch to 1.5 inches of rain in less than 30 minutes.
Some of the many other major watersheds that feed Fountain Creek, and Queens Canyon, which feeds Camp Creek, received less moisture. That spared the area from a nightmare scenario that could have decimated huge portions of Manitou Springs and Cascade, flooded Old Colorado City and Pleasant Valley, and turned U.S. 24 into a waterway all the way to downtown.
"It was horrible," Magnuson says, "but it could have been worse."