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More afternoon storms on tap; flash flooding fears rise

DENVER — People across the state are preparing for more storms Tuesday after an already active start to monsoon season.

There is some high water on Interstate 25 and U.S. 36 after heavy rains soaked the area overnight. More of the dangerous conditions are expected throughout monsoon season.

“I know in the mountains there is flash flooding,” tourist Jennifer Bates said. “I just didn’t expect it to be here this weekend.”

Bates is vacationing from Kansas and didn’t expect the heavy rains in Manitou Springs. But authorities did. They shut down low-lying roads and moved people away from flooding hot spots. The water quickly filled the creek running through the town. In some areas, it nearly jumped the banks.

“We have flooding in Kansas but rarely is it of this speed,” Bates said.

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A wildfire in Waldo Canyon in 2012 destroyed vegetation. Now the mountain doesn’t hold any water. Since then, the runoff has flooded Manitou Springs several times, killing one and washing away cars and property.

“I came home and saw the aftermath and it was kind of sad,” resident Arrielle Nives said.

For residents, heavy rains such as this bring back the fear of flash floods.

“I think about the locals who live here,” Nives said. “My heart hurts for them.”

“The water is all muddy,” tourist Sierra McNeal said. “It’s almost to the bridge. … It’s pretty crazy. It’s going fast too.”

Police reopened the roads in Manitou Springs but are closely watching weather conditions.

If you’re driving through an area with flash floods, authorities suggest you stay in your car and pay attention to barricades and road closures. they say never drive through high water, even if it looks shallow. It can be deeper than you think.