This story has been archived from the Sunday, August 21, 2005

Rain hammers Springs; snow strands runners


Flash flooding closed streets and stalled cars, hail and snow stranded runners on Pikes Peak, and lightning started a house fire Saturday afternoon as wild weather rolled through the region.

Up to 4 inches of rain fell over northern and western parts of Colorado Springs between 1 and 3 p.m., the National Weather Service reported.

At the airport, 0.89 inches fell. Union and Academy boulevards got 2.75 inches of rain and 4.1 inches fell at Union Boulevard and Vickers Drive, the weather service said.

The downpour still left the city well short of its average rainfall for the year.

Firefighters suspect lightning started a fire about 2 p.m. at 2442 Norwich Drive in Briargate. Neighbors called the Fire Department after seeing smoke and fire coming from the roof, Lt. Glenn Conklin said. Nobody was home and there were no injuries.

The house fire was one of 45 calls firefighters handled between 1 and 3 p.m., Conklin said. About 30 of the calls were to rescue drivers with flooded vehicles, he said. None of the drivers was hurt.

“The rain just came down so fast that the runoff gathered and ran over the streets in a matter of minutes,” Conklin said. “It was more than people making bad decisions.”

Colorado Springs police responded to seven crashes involving minor injuries and 11 noninjury crashes between 1 and 4 p.m., Lt. Mary Jo Strassburg-Aldal said.

Snow and hail stranded hundreds of runners, race officials and others for the Pikes Peak Ascent atop the mountain for two to three hours after the race while snowplows cleared the road, Conklin said. They huddled in the summit house, where firefighters provided aid to those who had been overexposed to the weather.

Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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