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Flash Flooding, Mudslides in Colorado Storm

July 19, 2013
Colorado Mudslide

AP Photo/The Coloradoan, V. Richard Haro

An easy chair sits on Rist Canyon Road after a storm dropped rain in the Whale Rock and Rist Canyon area, Thursday July 18, 2013.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Heavy rain in areas burned by wildfires in northern Colorado has led to flash flooding, and a mudslide has closed both directions of Interstate 70 at Palisade in western Colorado.

(MORE: Wildfire Threatens Town in Southern California)

"Ironically, long after a fire is extinguished, it can become a flood-prone area," said weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. "Incredibly...it only takes rain rates of one-quarter to one-half inch per hour to trigger debris flows, mudslides, or flooding of burn-scarred areas. This is something you may see many summer afternoons in the Rockies." 

The National Weather Service says more than 1.5 inches of rain fell in the northern Colorado burn areas Thursday. The rain pushed mud and rocks onto parts of Highway 14. Crews quickly cleared debris to reopen the road.

Meanwhile, Wellington fire officials say a lightning strike caught nine farmworkers, injuring two critically and four seriously.

In western Colorado, in addition to the slide on I-70, a mudslide closed U.S. 24 two miles east of Minturn. Mudslides also were reported in the Marble and Redstone areas. The National Weather Service estimates some parts of western Colorado got two inches of rain.

MORE: Early-July Flooding Slams Colorado

Associated Press

A police officer walks through a muddy street in Manitou Springs, Colo. after a flood of debris and mud swept through a section of the historic Colorado town just west of Colorado Springs on Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Bryan Oller)


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