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Flash floods ⎯the other high water risk in Southern Colorado

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 13, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) has put their swift water training on hold because of the high water in the Arkansas River caused by rapid spring runoff.

“A good place for us to learn what the river does,” said Lieutenant Curt Crumb with Colorado Springs Fire Department.

When water levels in the Arkansas are closer to average, CSFD road trips to the river because the flow is more consistent and safer for training than waterways in Colorado Springs.

Creeks and streams in Colorado Springs pose a different kind of high threat with flash flooding.

“We're trained for it, and we're going to do everything in our power to not get in that water,” said Crumb.

The flashflood threat it typically highest from late May through July.

In 2023 two people were swept away and died during two separate flashflood events in Colorado Springs.

When downpours happen the amount of flow in waterways around Colorado Springs can surpass the current high flow happening in the Arkansas River.

The threat is more than drowning.

Rocks, tree limbs, and debris add to the danger.

“That's all an entanglement hazard,” said Crumb, “you add to that the strength of the water that's coming, and you don't have a fighting chance in it.”

Whether it is a river water going up because of runoff or a creek that fills very quickly because of a downpour, the message is the same, high water moving fast is dangerous.

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