Flood-Plagued Manitou Springs Reacts To Installation Of New Rain Monitoring Equipment


The water that flooded Manitou Springs in 2013 came down from Williams Canyon.

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There's a threat for more flash flooding this week. But there are new tools in place to help monitor the threat on part of the burn scar in real time.

There’s already a camera that sits above Manitou Springs in Waldo Canyon. More of this technology is now being put into Williams Canyon.

We asked the city's fire chief if this is enough. Manitou Springs Fire Chief Keith Buckmiller said they're making good progress. What's being done along Williams Canyon is a good start: that canyon is the biggest threat to Manitou Springs when it rains.

You might remember last August when flood water rushed into Manitou Springs, filling homes with mud, and pouring down Canon Avenue. The water that destroyed homes came down through Williams Canyon.

Tuesday, helicopters dropped off rain monitoring equipment and cameras in Williams Canyon, which will give crews an idea of what could be headed into Manitou after it rains.

Chief Buckmiller said they won't be relying on just the new cameras and gauges.

"We need people to know that this is not normal water. This is debris flow, and when we send the sirens they have to move up," Buckmiller said.

When those sirens go off, everyone should know they need to immediately get to higher ground.

We talked to tourists who told us the possibility of flash floods doesn't discourage them from coming into town. Buckmiller said he never wants to stifle business, but when it becomes a matter of public safety, they're going to err on the side of caution.

"I guess at some point you just say, ‘How many lives is one big tourism boom worth?’ Zero," Buckmiller told us.

Buckmiller said the first Monday of every month they're planning to test not only the flash flood sirens, but also the reverse notifications. He urges everyone to register their phones as soon as possible.

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