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Sep 15, 2011 11:24 PM by Matt Stafford

Recording damage from record-breaking rain

El Paso County received record-breaking rain Wednesday. News 5's Weather Team says it was a 24-hour record for precipitation for that day. Mike and Mike say it's one of the largest one-day totals in recent memory.

The heavy rain caught many off-guard; like Charles Kohler, whose car got stuck in the rushing waters.

"Water just started coming up," says Kohler, who had to wait out the storm.

"The further south you go, the more rainfall we had," says Allen Peterson, Colorado Springs Street Division Manager.

The city was watching closely to see how an old drainage system would handle record-breaking rain.

"Our drainage system was able to keep up pretty well; we have seen some flooding around town," says Peterson.

That's to be expected; especially when some places have pipes that are up to 60 years old.

"It's rusting and we're starting to see streets collapsing and infrastructure failing," says Peterson.

The city has been working on known problem areas; like one near Austin Bluffs Boulevard and North Academy Boulevard -- clearing debris that's keeping things clogged up.

Not to mention dealing with extra work when a soon-to-be paving project on Cimarron Street developed several pot holes after Wednesday's heavy rains that had to be filled.

There's no estimate yet on how much damage was done, because several places still need to be checked. Peterson says staff has been short since the end of the Stormwater Enterprise -- a tax payer funded system that City Council voted to end in 2009. They also have 400 miles of drainage to check.

"Being proactive is very, very difficult," says Peterson. He says this storm points out the need for another funding plan.

El Paso County officials want the same. Eastern areas near Falcon have washed over the road, and county officials say that will keep happening until something is done.

"You get a 3, 4, 5 inch rain like this; it is going to flood there," says Andre Brackin, deputy director of public services for El Paso County.

"It will be like this until there is a storm water funding mechanism of some kind," says Brackin.

City officials say problem areas keep popping up. It may take a couple more days to get a full scope of the damage. If you're area is having problems they say one of the first areas you will start to notice are parts of the road caving in near drains. If you see any thing that looks like an issue, call the City Street Division at 385-6834.

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