Area cleared by wildfire floods after intense rain

July 2, 2013 at 4:48 PM

COLORADO SPRINGS, July 2 (UPI) -- An intense downpour over a portion of Colorado stripped bare by a wildfire triggered a flash flood that damaged homes in Colorado Springs, officials said.

A fast-moving storm that dumped 0.59 inches over Waldo Canyon in about 20 minutes. Because the area had no vegetation to help absorb the intense downpour, a wall of water, mud and downed trees streamed into neighborhoods in western Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs Monday afternoon, The (Colorado Springs) Gazette said.

Meteorologists said the flooding could have been much worse were it not for the fact the storm moved over the scorched earth in Waldo Canyon at a rapid, 35 mph pace. Had the storm lingered over the area, damage could have been far more devastating.

The Denver Post said 20 homes were damaged, several severely. No injuries were reported but homes and businesses were coated in thick mud. The Post said 163 people had been evacuated due to the flooding with the possibility of more rain Tuesday.

Witnesses reported experiencing the downpour and hearing a "freight train" approaching as the runoff barreled down hills toward neighborhoods.

"It was raining buckets and all of a sudden I heard this freight train," said Tina Weber, who lives in the flood zone. "I came running around my house and I see this wall of water with this perfect white mattress on the front of it coming down the canyon. ... It was an 8-foot wall of black debris and boulders and trees. There was no stopping it."

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