Emergency personnel and local residents worked on cleaning Manitou Springs in Colorado on Saturday after a mudslide and planned further clean-up Sunday as one missing person was found while two others remain unaccounted for.
A man named Steve, who lives in Narrows, was found late Saturday, while Juston Travis and a “woman with blonde hair clinging to tree” both still unaccounted for, said the Colorado Springs Police Department.
The mudslide on Friday was caused by heavy rain and soil and rocks loosened by the Waldo Canyon wildfire last year.
While more flash flooding didn’t happen on Saturday as forecasted by the National Weather Service, residents had lots of work to do cleaning up the damage from the mudslides and flash flooding. And the clean-up likely won’t be the last.
“It’s just going to be life in Manitou every time we get a big rain. As long as the burn scar exists, we are gonna have to live with this for the next 10 years.” Steve Moll, who was helping clean up outside his friend’s candy shop on Cañon Avenue, told the Denver Post.
The floods were the third of the summer in Manitou Springs and the fourth in the area since the Waldo Canyon Fire, which destroyed 347 homes, killed two people and burned more than 28 square miles.
Local news agency The Gazette deemed Friday’s flash floods the city’s “worst disaster in decades.”
“Battered, bloodied and muddied, Manitou Springs on Saturday began to dig out of its worst disaster in decades,” began one of its stories published on August 10.
At least 20 businesses in the small tourist town had to shut down at least temporarily; 11 houses were seriously damaged; and over 40 cars were towed off of city streets and U.S. Highway 24. John Collins was confirmed dead late Friday, his body found under flood debris on the highway.
Business owners were struck hard.
Farley McDonough, owner of Adam’s Mountain Cafe, told The Gazette that the restaurant had been covered by two to three feet of water and mud and aren’t sure how quickly they can re-open.
“This will hurt our bottom line. We are at the peak of our season,” McDonough said. “This is the second year in a row when we will lose two weeks at the height of the tourist season. It will probably put us into a loss for the entire year.”
Tammy Pfaffle, who owns a cottage on Canon Avenue, said that she saw the floodwaters rushing toward her and within minutes her cottage was engulfed. All of her possessions, including her refrigerator and furniture, were floating for about half an hour. The water subsided and she was finally able to walk out.
Volunteers wanting to help with the flood clean-up on Sunday can check in 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Tajine Alami.
Photos of the flooding are below. Scroll down to see photos of the clean-up on August 10.