Flood-mitigation efforts shield Manitou Springs from heavy rains on Wednesday night

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - In Manitou Springs, it's so far so good one day after Wednesday night's heavy rains.

The storms were the first big test for new mitigation efforts in and around town after last year’s devastating floods.

There were some concerns in the spring that a new $4 million culvert under Highway 24 might send too much water toward town, and create even worse problems.

Those concerns appear to be unfounded, according to City Administrator Jason Wells.

"That certainly hasn't been our experience so far," Wells told 7NEWS. "The culvert is doing exactly what it's meant to do. It’s receiving much more water than the old one, and directing it where we want it to go. It is serving its purpose."

The Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar produced devastating floods last year because the charred mountainsides can no longer soak up the amount of moisture they did in the past. Sandbags will be the new reality in Manitou for at least the next five years, according to one town manager.

Businesses along the main street in the town that thrives on tourism are taking it all in stride.

"We have sandbags around the doors," said Eric Wilks, the head winemaker at D'Vine Wines. "Last year, we had about two to three feet of mud outside on the patio. We had about three to six inches inside. But, we got it cleaned up and you just have to stay optimistic."

At Aloft Espresso next door, owner Patrick Alford refuses to hold his breath every time it rains.

"I'm moving beyond that,” said Alford. "I'm not going to live in that post-traumatic stress world."

Wednesday night’s double-whammy, back-to-back rain storms in Manitou set off the town's warning sirens twice. The storms were the first big test for the new culvert under Highway 24 and mitigation efforts along the creek in town.

"It went really well," said Wilks. "The creek flowed well and everything did what it was supposed to do."

"Everybody's come together quite seamlessly and done a great job,” said Alford.

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