Flash Flooding

 

About

Flash Floods PSA

Flash flooding is the most common natural hazard in Colorado Springs. Flash floods tend to occur from May through September, and are usually caused by thunderstorms that are out of sight and hearing range of people downstream. Runoff from the mountains can quickly cause the water levels of small creeks and dry streambeds to rise to unsafe levels. These walls of water are fast moving and can easily reach heights of 10-20 feet. Know which streams and waterways are nearby, and where you are in relation to them. Learn More (video).

You should never attempt to cross an area that is flooding. It only takes 6 inches of fast moving water to knock you off your feet. Just 10 inches of moving water can move a car, and 18 inches can float your vehicle. Your best course of action is to immediately seek higher ground.

  • An urban and small stream advisory means that isolated flooding of streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.
  • A flash flood watch means that flash flooding is possible. Be alert and prepared to move to high ground. Watch for rising water levels or unusual street flooding is possible. Listen to local radio or television stations or Weather Service radio for possible flash flood warnings and bulletins. Locate a hand crank or battery powered radio and extra batteries.
  • A flash flood warning means that a flash flood is occurring or is about to occur. If necessary relocate immediately and seek high ground away from high risk areas and water. Do not attempt to cross moving water either on foot or in your vehicle.
If you see clogged inlets or other public drainage infrastructure problems, report it immediately.
  • Within Colorado Springs city limits contact the Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division by calling 719-385-ROAD
  • Outside of city limits contact the El Paso County Public Service Department at 719-520-6890

Before a Flood - Flood Preparedness

  1. Create a plan to move everyone in your family to higher ground during a flood event and make sure each member of your family understands the plan.
  2. Have a 72-hour kit ready to go in case you need to evacuate – Remember the 6 P’s in your planning – papers, pills (medicine), phone, pets, purse (money) and photos.
  3. Stay aware of local flash flood warnings through local radio, TV and on www.weather.gov/pueblo. Have a battery-operated radio available.
  4. Register your phone (landline or cell) for emergency notifications at http://www.elpasoteller911.org/.
  5. Purchase flood insurance – most homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding. (http://www.floodsmart.gov/)
  6. Take photos of your belongings in case you need to file insurance claims after a flood event.
    1. Take time to read the wealth of information on flooding on this page

    During a Flood Event

    1. Move to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
    2. Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams, drive through flooded roadways or allow children to play in drainage areas (just 6 inches of moving water can knock an adult off their feet).
    3. If water rises in your home before you can evacuate, move to the top floor, attic or roof.
    4. Stay aware of local flash flood warnings through local radio, TV and on www.weather.gov/Pueblo. Have a battery-operated radio available.
    5. If you come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
    6. If you see clogged inlets or other public drainage infrastructure problems, report it immediately to:
      • City Streets Division (719) 385-5934
      • El Paso County Public Service Dept. (719) 520-6891

    7. Reserve the use of 9-1-1 for life-threatening emergencies. For non-emergent needs requiring public safety response, call 444-7000 within City limits or 390-5555 in El Paso County. For information related questions, call Pikes Peak United Way Information & Referral at (719) 955-0742.

    Receive Weather Alerts

    Register for Weather Alerts to be sent to your cell phone A few Internet links for information regarding weather radios and smart phone apps are listed below. However, please note that there are many other online vendors available through internet search “weather radios”:

    Waldo Canyon burn scar

    Waldo Canyon-After the Fire Flooding Risk Information

    The recent Waldo Canyon Fire has significantly changed the landscape, presenting risk of debris flow and flooding. Hillsides once protected by vegetation have been compromised and precipitation could have significant impacts on the landscape. Residents both in the burned area and those downstream of those areas should be prepared for potential flooding and are strongly urged to purchase flood insurance.

    MAPS:  Waldo Canyon Fire Flood Information

    To see if your home or neighborhood is in a flood risk area, view the

    Waldo Canyon Fire: Post Fire Flood Risk Interactive Map

    updated 7/24/13.

    Helpful Tips for Using the Waldo Canyon Fire Information Map.

    This map will NOT save your life, property, or public health. Citizens must take personal responsibility for protecting their own safety during flash flood occurrences. Any property downstream of a burned area has risk. This product is intended for planning purposes only. Post-fire conditions have elevated the flood threat, including areas that are not yet mapped. Other low lying areas may be threatened. Please contact your insurance agent or visit www.floodSmart.gov to evaluate your insurance protection options. The post-fire BAER team (citation) has indicated that potential water and sediment flow from the burn area may have increased by 350%. This site will include additional information regarding post fire hazards as it becomes available. Note: To activate the legend, click on the “Show Map Legend” icon located to the upper left of the map.

    DISCLAIMER By using this site, you represent that you acknowledge and accept the following disclaimer: The use of this site and its contents are provided for informational purposes only. The information provided herein is provided without any representations, guarantees or warranties of any kind, either express or implied, including by way of example but not limitation, as to fitness for any particular purpose or result. The information provided herein is intended to address the areas affected by the burn from the Waldo Canyon fire. Specific information or needs may vary between individuals and as a result the City of Colorado Springs explicitly disclaims any responsibility for how any information provided herein may affect a particular individual. It is recommended that affected individuals seek private consultation or assistance for their individual needs.

     

     Maps and additional Info

    Additional maps and other areas with heightened risk:

    • North Douglas Creek (second largest burn area with drainage flows to the City) -- drains to a channel running through subdivisions west and east of Centennial (originating near Pikeview Quarry, crossing under Flying W Ranch Road and Centennial Blvd, along Mule Deer Drive just west of Ute Valley Park), crossing Garden of the Gods Road near Elkton Drive and discharging to Monument Creek
    • South Douglas Creek -- drains to a channel next to Flying W Ranch Road, crossing Garden of the Gods Road at Arrows West Drive and heading east, past Centennial Blvd through Holland Park, and discharging to Monument Creek
    • Camp Creek/31st Street channels (largest burn area with drainage flows to the City) -- drains through Queens Canyon, through Glen Eyrie, Garden of the Gods, Rockledge Ranch and 31st Street channel, and discharging to Fountain Creek
    • Dry Creek through Peregrine and Rockrimmon, in a channel running through subdivisions, parallel and south of Woodmen Road, crossing under Rockrimmon Blvd, and discharging to Monument Creek
    • Fountain Creek beginning upstream of Manitou Springs then running through Colorado Springs next to Highway 24
    • Williams Canyon located west of Manitou Springs and north of Highway 24

    • Majestic Drive and Majestic Park

    • Ute Pass/US 24 (Additional flooding information for El Paso County, areas outside of City limits)

    • Ute Pass:  Cascade & Chipeta Park

    • Manitou Springs

    • Any moderately to heavily burned areas and areas downstream

    Useful Links for Flood Information: