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Heavy rain brings floods, mudslides, tap water issues to parts of Colorado; Loveland Pass reopens

Limited threat of flash flooding Sunday
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Posted at 10:13 AM, Aug 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-01 16:07:45-04

DENVER – Heavy rain over Colorado's burn scars caused flash flooding in parts of Boulder and Larimer counties Saturday, creating drinking water issues in Grand County. Multiple mudslide were also reported near Telluride in San Miguel County and on Loveland pass, where CDOT shut U.S. 6 down. The pass was later reopened.

The National Weather service issued a flash flood warning for the Calwood burn scar in Boulder County, but later upgraded it to "considerable threat" for flash flooding occurring in the area near Geer Canyon Dr. to Lefthand Canyon then to Hwy 36. The warning expired around 6:45 p.m.

Boulder County authorities issued a "climb to higher ground" order for areas of Geer Canyon and Lefthand Canyon, east of Geer Canyon, due to expected flooding and possible debris flows. Around 6 p.m., authorities gave the "all clear" after flood waters receded. No significant damage was reported.

Flooding was also occurring in Larimer County. Authorities issued an alert to residents in The Retreat subdivision, warning them of dangerous flooding occurring in the area.

Thunderstorms were producing heavy rain across the the Cameron Peak burn area, where more than a half an inch of rain fell in 20 minutes. Authorities later downgraded the flooding threat in Larimer County and issued a voluntary evacuation order for areas near the Cameron Peak burn area.

On Friday, flash floods once again swept through Poudre Canyon in Larimer County. However, officials said Saturday there were no major structural damage to residences and there are no reported casualties or missing persons associated with Friday's flash flood event.

Debris and mud from the burn scars caused cloudy water in the Colorado River, prompting Grand County water officials to shut off an intake plant. County residents are being asked to conserve tap water for the next 48 hours as the county's public works department has stopped refilling a water storage tank.

Interstate 70 remains closed through Glenwood Canyon after more than 100 people were trapped Thursday night during heavy rains. The Colorado Department of Transportation said the closure there is expected to last through the weekend as crews clear heavy debris from mudslides.

CDOT crews worked aggressively to clear the debris and drain the water from the roadway on Saturday. While much progress has been made, CDOT said there remains the danger and risk of more slides with heavy rain in the forecast.

Loveland Pass was shut down late Saturday evening due to a mudslide near A-Basin. Traffic was being diverted onto I-70, where hazmat vehicles were being escorted through the tunnel. The pass reopened around 2 p.m.

On Saturday, multiple mudslides with debris, including boulders, swept across Colorado Highway 145 in the Sawpit area near Telluride in San Miguel County. The most severe slide occurred at mile marker 79 with 1-2 feet of debris and boulders that will require equipment to move. The highway is closed in both directions in that area and an extended closure is expected.

And Highway 14 through Larimer County – between Rustic and Larimer County Road 103 – was closed just after 2 p.m. because of flash flooding at the Cameron Peak burn scar.

Sunday's forecast calls for drier weather Sunday with a limited threat of flash flooding in the East Troublesome and Williams Fork burn areas.