SPM 07-30-2017: Dangerous Debris Flows Cause Evacuations

Issue Date: Sunday, July 30, 2017
Issue Time: 09:55AM MDT


Cloud cover limited the northern extent of the heavy rainfall yesterday along the Front Range. Further south, storms began to fire over the higher terrain by 1PM. Another area along the Northeast Plains and eastern Palmer Ridge began to fire in the early afternoon where there was plentiful sunshine. Some storms were able to move off the higher terrain later in the afternoon favoring the higher terrain of the Palmer Divide. Overnight, the storms merged over the Southeast Plains in the high moisture environment and slowly moved SE exiting the state early this morning.

Over the western mountains, a CoCoRaHS station in La Plata County recorded 2.09 inches over the 24-hour period. Another report came in from Delta County where 1.25 inches in 90 minutes. There was a debris flow reported in Mesa County at 4:20PM over Routh 330 between mile marker 7 and 8. Storm totals were estimated around 1.8 inches.

In the Southeast Mountains, a station in Teller County recorded 1.16 inches. Over this area, radar estimates were as high as 1.8 inches. There were several Flash Flood Warnings and Advisories over this area over the course of the day. Just west of Walsenburg, 1.03 inches had fallen by 3:40PM. The rain here continued throughout the afternoon and evening making for dangerous conditions. At 6:35PM, a debris flow had cover portions of a road in Custer County near Wetmore, which is near the Junkins burn scar. There was debris reported all along highway 165 from Mckenzie Junction to mile post 6. By 7:15PM there was 3-4 feet of water over the Hardscrabble Creek Bridge in Wetmore. The evacuation of Wetmore and Greenwood began as the bridge was expected to fail (it did not fail).

In the adjacent plains over the south, there were a few more Flash Flood Warnings and Areal Advisories. At 6:30PM, there was 7-8 inches of water coving the road in Pueblo. A CoCoRaHS station in Pueblo recorded 1.34 inches. Near Peterson AFB, 0.6 inches was recorded falling in a 30 minute period. Storm estimated totals were as high as 2.8 inches. Over the SE Plains where the cluster of storms dropped precipitation both over the north and south. Over the north and south just over 5 inches had accumulated. A couple CoCoRaHS stations were able to capture some of the heavier rainfall. One was over Cheyenne County that recorded 3.02 inches, and the other over Otero County that had 2.74 inches.

To see how much rain fell in your neighborhood the last 24-hours, check out the State Precipitation Map below.

Storm Total Precip Legend