It was just the opposite, said Tim Mitros, the stormwater manager for the city of Colorado Springs.
Unlike two years ago, when an Aug. 9 storm flooded Manitou Springs and killed a man on U.S. 24, the blow of Monday's storm was significantly lessened by an extensive network of flood mitigation projects. The projects' continued success depends on keeping them clean and debris-free, which will likely require local governments to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for years to come. Officials say that's a price worth paying to save lives and protect properties from flood damage.
The Autism Center's Monday flooding is but one example of how flood mitigation work came to the rescue. The center is protected by a retention pond with a pipe that channels water out of the area. A series of trapbags surround the center as backup in case the retention pond overflows. It's a system designed to slow, not stop, the impact of a flood.
"A big wave of water came down and went into the Autism Center," Mitros said. "If the trap bags hadn't been there, it would have taken the full force of that water. It would have been a lot more damage had the trap bags . that door would have been blasted right into."
Monday's storm propelled flood debris into basins around the region, and people in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs saw the thick, sediment-filled water flow into drainages and culverts on its way down from the foothills.
Until Monday, the Pikes Peak region had been spared this year the kind of heavy rainstorm that tests the flood mitigation work throughout the Waldo Canyon burn scar, the denuded slopes of which pose a major flood threat every year.