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City of Colorado Springs / Stormwater / News

Flash Flood awareness reminders


A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for the Colorado Springs area today. Flash flooding is the most common natural hazard in Colorado Springs. Flash floods tend to occur from May through September, and are usually caused by thunderstorms that are out of sight and hearing range of people downstream. Runoff from the mountains can quickly cause the water levels of small creeks and dry streambeds to rise to unsafe levels. These walls of water are fast moving and can easily reach heights of 10-20 feet. Know which streams and waterways are nearby, and where you are in relation to them.

You should never attempt to cross an area that is flooding. It only takes 6 inches of fast moving water to knock you off your feet. Just 10 inches of moving water can move a car, and 2 feet can float your vehicle. Your best course of action is to immediately seek higher ground.

Parents are encouraged to remind their children that drainage ditches are not a safe place to play. A dry channel can be filled with rushing water in seconds during a flash flood event, even when rainfall is not occurring in the immediate area. Ditch playing in ditches educational materials aimed at raising awareness in children and parents is available on springsgov.com.

A flash flood watch means that flash flooding is possible. Be alert and prepared to move to high ground. Watch for rising water levels or unusual street flooding. Listen to local radio or television stations or Weather Service radio for possible flash flood warnings and bulletins. Locate a hand crank or battery powered radio and extra batteries.

A flash flood warning means that a flash flood is occurring or is about to occur. Evacuate the flood hazard area immediately. Do not attempt to cross moving water either on foot or in your vehicle. Keep a hand crank or battery powered radio tuned to a local station and follow all emergency instructions.

An urban and small stream advisory means that flooding of streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.