Sep 17, 2013 8:10 PM

Minor flooding brings major shock to La Junta

As we've seen across southern Colorado, just a little water in the wrong place can have a big impact. That's the case in La Junta, where minor flooding came as a major shock.

Pat Finker, who lives near the Arkansas River, woke up this morning to her new lake front property. The only problem, there isn't supposed to be a lake.

"We've been praying for rain, but not this much," says Finker.

Finker is just one of the homeowners hit by flooding on the Arkansas River. The water surrounding her house is actually blanketing her neighbors land. She says he probably lost some of his hay.

Just a few yards from her house, part of Highway 194 disappeared, closed off to drivers.
Despite the flood damage, county leaders say they dodged a bullet.

"For the major part we didn't have a major flood," says Keith Goodwin, Otero County Commissioner.

Goodwin says that's because they've been working with river management for the past couple of days. Their main priority-- keeping ditches and culverts clear.

"They've been clearing the tamarisks, not just killing it, removing the tamarisks, so that we didn't have any snags to hold up debris coming down the river during floods," he says.

For people in this community, even this minor flood, comes as a major shock. Many homeowners say the last time they saw this much water in the river was in 1999. Goodwin says it probably won't be long before the river disappears again.



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