At least one man is dead and three people are missing after a mudslide tore through a Colorado town as a result of flash flooding brought on by heavy rains. Nearly 1.5 inches of rain fell during a 30-minute span in Williams Canyon Friday evening, flooding Fountain Creek and eventually making its way into Manitou Springs, Colo, west of Colorado Springs.
It’s the third flash flood in the town this year, and the fourth in the area since the Waldo Canyon wildfire destroyed 347 homes, killed two people and burned more than 18,000 acres last year, the Gazette in Colorado Springs reported.
The body of John Collins, 53, was discovered along U.S. Highway 24. “The body was not inside a vehicle, and much of the body was buried beneath significant amounts of debris,” Lt. Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said, according to the Associated Press.
There are three people are currently considered missing: 24-year-old Justin Travis, a local man identified only as Steve and an unidentified blonde woman who was “seen near the creek at one moment hanging in a tree and then not seen the next,” Manitou Springs Police Chief Joe Ribeiro said.
Floodwater, with mud and debris in its wake, ran down the burn scar left from the Waldo Canyon wildfire and ravaged Manitou Springs. Businesses and homes were destroyed, while vehicles were swept away. “Some folks have lost their homes. There’s been some total destruction on a few homes and some significant damage to others,” Ribeiro said.
“We didn’t have a lot of warning last night. This really came upon us quickly,” Manitou Springs Mayor Mark Snyder said, according to AP. “And yet I know that businesses, restaurants evacuated their people, got them to safety and that’s always the first order of business.”
“Manitou Springs is a resilient community,” local fire-department representative Dave Hunting told the Gazette in Colorado Springs. “We will bounce back from this as we already have a couple of times this summer. But public safety is our number-one priority right now.”
More rain has been forecast for Saturday afternoon and evening, AP reported.