Colorado pounded by more severe weather
July 14, 2011
BOULDER, Colo. – More severe weather hit the Denver area and eastern Colorado on Thursday, unleashing heavy rain on already-soaked areas and adding to the debris and mud that closed canyon roads west of Boulder.
A rock slide closed a lane of a highway in the mountains west of Boulder, where crews were still trying to clear mud from roads after up to 1.3 inches of rain pounded the area Wednesday night. State transportation officials said most of the rocks were small and no one was injured.
An evacuation center opened for residents who couldn’t go home because of debris blocking roads was closed Thursday night after the roads were cleared. A flash flood warning was issued for the area where a wildfire burned away vegetation on thousands of acres last fall.
Two large surges of flood water in Boulder Creek on Wednesday night prompted warnings to people to get to high ground. No serious flooding occurred.
Several counties in north-central Colorado and the Denver area were under a severe thunderstorm watch Thursday. Sheets of rain swept through Denver and the suburbs as evening rush hour started. Cars were partially submerged in spots where water backed up and water gushed through normally dry gulches.
Property owners were still assessing the hail damage from Wednesday night’s storms.
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State Farm Insurance said it expects to get about 6,500 auto claims and 4,000 home claims. Damage includes broken windshields and roof and siding damage.
Hail damaged roughly 40 airplanes at Denver International Airport, cancelling more than 100 flights and stranding 1,000 passengers overnight.
In Colorado’s central mountains, the town of Dillon was dealing with the aftermath of heavy rains that triggered a landslide into Straight Creek, a drinking water source for thousands. Town Manager Devin Granbery told KUSA-TV that Dillon is using another water source because of the huge amount of sediment in the creek.
The water is safe to drink after being treated, but Granbery says the town is being cautious.
On the Western Slope, Aspen enjoyed a calm, sunny day on Thursday.