Garfield County under flash flood warning until 8:45 p.m.
Daniella Mendez anxiously watched Rifle Creek roar through her backyard Monday afternoon.
“I think it’s going to get even higher,” Mendez said as she watched the muddy creek, flowing almost over its banks. “I’m not going to sleep tonight. I don’t want it to get in my house.”
A flash flood warning is in effect for Garfield County until 8:45 p.m. Heavy rains north of town brought Rifle and Government creeks close to bursting over their banks. Two sections of Highway 13 also flooded Monday afternoon.
The longer section of mud-covered highway was about 75-feet. The road was flooded with debris after a drainage ditch overflowed, unable to handle the volume of rain. The Colorado Department of Transportation had the areas cleared by about 6 p.m. Monday.
“The crews used to think of this sort of maintenance as routine,” said Nancy Shanks, a spokeswoman for CDOT. “This kind of thing is expected during monsoon season.”
Monsoon season officially started Saturday, said Brian Avery, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. Monsoon season is characterized by what Avery calls monsoonal bursts and breaks. In a monsoonal burst, the skies open up and drop significant ammounts of rain in short periods of time. Avery said he expects a monsoonal break, little or no percipitation, to start today.
Avery said today’s flooding was caused by a very strong thunderstorm that began building over Government Creek north of Rifle and followed the Creek south.
“It’s prime flash flood conditions,” Avery said.
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