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Thursday storm causes mild flooding in Animas Valley

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Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 10:27 PM
Pete Vanderbilt, a County Road 203 resident, shovels mud Thursday afternoon after a rainstorm caused Tripp Creek to flood on the west side of the Animas Valley.
Jimbo Buickerood, right, a County Road 203 resident, talks with Butch Knowlton, director of the La Plata County Office of Emergency Management, about how water came down Tripp Creek on Thursday after heavy rain hit the west side of the Animas Valley.
RJ Ferrell and his brother, Vernon Ferrel, in the loader, build levies at Lone Pine Mobile Park on Thursday to keep more water from entering the park.
Water flows into Durango North Village on Thursday after heavy rain hit the west side of the Animas Valley.

A fast-moving storm dumped a half-inch of rain in 20 minutes Thursday on the 416 Fire burn scar, but residents in the area north of Durango escaped serious damage from flooding.

Butch Knowlton, director of La Plata County’s Office of Emergency Management, said the storm hit Tripp Creek and Dyke Canyon, two areas heavily affected by the fire that burned in June.

Soil damaged by the fire can no longer absorb water, and that creates an increased risk of flash flooding and dangerous debris flows and mudslides.

Thursday’s storm brought a lot of water through residents’ yards, but there were no reports of property damage, and the flooding did not cause any road closures, Knowlton said.

Water flows into Durango North Village on Thursday after heavy rain hit the west side of the Animas Valley.
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

A large amount of debris flowed into the Animas Consolidated Ditch, which parallels County Road 203, he said.

By 5 p.m., most of the water had passed through creeks and drainages and into the Animas River, he said.

Knowlton said the storm paled in comparison the storms on July 17 and July 24, which caused extensive property damage in the Animas Valley.

“People need to be aware of that fact that there’s going to be runoff whenever we get these types of storms,” he said. “And it could be considerably worse.”

jromeo@durangoherald.com

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