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Flash flood warning in SW Colorado into Tuesday evening; watches and advisories in effect for burn scars

Some flooding already seen in Telluride area
Posted at 3:43 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 07:35:14-04

DENVER – The National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued flash flood warnings for parts of Dolores, San Juan, Ouray and San Miguel counties through 8 p.m. Tuesday, and flooding was already being seen in the Telluride area Tuesday afternoon.

Heavy rain was moving across southwestern Colorado Tuesday afternoon leading to the flash flood warnings in areas that have seen little in the way of precipitation over the past few months.

The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office said mudslides were occurring in the Telluride area in the 3 p.m. hour and that there were minimal evacuations.

Highway 145 Spur east of Telluride was shut down to all traffic at 3 p.m., and Black Bear Pass and Bridal Veil Road were closed, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office said no injuries were reported as of 3:30 p.m.

Just after 6 p.m., the sheriff's office said deputies and search and rescue were working to rescue a distressed hiker from Imogene Pass and a vehicle on Black Bear Pass that needed help. The sheriff said people were driving on dangerous passes with little or no experience who were not equipped for any weather emergencies. Both search and rescue missions were successful and everybody was safe as of 7 p.m., the sheriff's office said.

By 6 p.m., 1 to 2 inches of rain had dropped north of Telluride, and flash flooding was expected to continue for "another couple hours," the National Weather Service said.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office also issued an emergency message for "dangerous flooding" occurring in the area of Joe Wright Reservoir east to the intersection of County Road 69 and Rustic.

A mandatory evacuation is in place in the area of Highway 14 from Rustic to Ted's Place at Highway 287. An evacuation site is being set up by the Red Cross at Cache La Poudre Middle School at 3515 W County Road 54G.

There are reports of mudslides in the area and multiple miles of line down, according to Poudre Valley REA.

A flash flood warning was also issued for the area near the Cameron Peak Fire burn scar, including the Chambers Lake Campground area, where more than an inch of rain had already fallen as of 6 p.m.

In other parts of Colorado, a flash flood watch was issued for the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar, which has seen several mudslides close Interstate 70 over the past few weeks.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said around 6:20 p.m. that Independence Pass had closed because of a mudslide, but it reopened shortly afterward.

And the National Weather Service in Boulder issued a small stream flood advisory for central Grand County and the East Troublesome burn scar area, where a ½ inch of rain had already fallen Tuesday, with another ½ inch expected.

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