A look at flood patrol with the Teller County Sheriff’s Office

Posted at 11:01 PM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 01:01:20-04

With hail bouncing off the windshield, Commander Greg Couch kept an eye on the road and his radar Thursday.

His weather radar, that is, as a way of protecting Teller County. Couch invited News 5 for a ride along for flood patrol Thursday.

"When these things happen, we have to get close enough to monitor the situation and conduct rescue operations, if necessary, and it kind of places us in the danger zone," Couch said. "What we want is people not to be in the danger zone."

When flash flooding hits, like it has numerous times this week across southern Colorado, Couch and other Teller County deputies focus first on life safety.

Then, they turn to road access for emergency vehicles and citizens, but that task isn’t always easy.

"Lot of times you get people that want to come out and look and take video, or whatever. You’re taking your life in your own hands. I mean, we’d rather you not do that."

Monday, Fountain Creek was raging to a width of 30 to 40 yards. It was tame at the start of our ride along, then quickly picked up speed following Thursday’s mix of rain and hail.

"It collects water from such a vast area in the high country up here in the Woodland Park and Teller County area," he said. "There’s only one path for that water to go and that’s downhill, increasing speed, heading straight for Manitou and west Colorado Springs."

The damage is still evident from Monday’s storm. Culverts are washed out, ditches are full of mud and bridges are still lined with debris, as Couch and other first responders prepare for the next flood.

"Doesn’t look like much today, but man, when this thing gets going, it is scary," Couch said, describing Fountain Creek.