Here’s the latest on the rain and mudslides in the Animas Valley.
La Plata County Road 203 was cleared of mud, silt and some debris and fully reopened around 4 p.m., said Butch Knowlton, director of Emergency Management in La Plata County.
County Road 203 had been reduced to one-lane, alternating traffic for about 1½ hours earlier in the afternoon as monsoonal rains again caused mudslides and debris flows from the 416 Fire burn scar.
“We did have debris flow down Tripp Creek, and we are watching it closely,” he said. “Water jumped out of its normal course of flow, and that got people’s attention.”
“We ask motorists to slow down. Mud and silt is still on the road, and it can be slick,” Knowlton said.
U.S. Highway 550 remained opened through the rains Wednesday. In some areas, traffic was slowed as crews worked to clear mud and debris from Tuesday’s rains, Knowlton said.
The National Weather Service’s flash-flood warning for north-central La Plata County extends to 5:45 p.m. It also covers southwestern San Juan County, eastern Dolores County and northeastern Montezuma County.
According to the Weather Service flash-flood warning statement: “Excessive rainfall over the burn scar will result in debris flow moving through the Hermosa Creek Drainage and Tripp Creek Gulch Drainage. The debris flow can consist of rock, mud, vegetation and other loose materials.”
Areas the Weather Service expected flooding to be an issue included Durango, Tacoma, Rockwood, Hermosa and Trimble.
U.S. Highway 550 in Colorado between mile markers 25 and 48 and areas along county roads 203 and 250 were also listed as covered by the flash flood warning.
The Weather Service warning states people should be moving away from the burn scar area as rains are likely to trigger rockslides, mudslides and debris flows in steep terrain around the 416 Fire burn scar.
Crews are clearing debris on U.S. Highway 550 from the Animas Village Apartments to the intersection with County Road 250, but two lanes remain open, with northbound traffic using the highway’s shoulder.
La Plata County Road 203 at Tripp Creek, about seven miles north of Durango, is down to one lane, alternating traffic, but U.S. Highway 550 remains open as rain began falling Wednesday afternoon in the Animas Valley north of Durango.
Debris flow on Tripp Creek Wednesday afternoon pic.twitter.com/Ke9SiuKMhF— La Plata County, CO (@LaPlataCountyCO) July 25, 2018
Deputy Chris Burke, spokesman with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, said another storm cell is expected over the 416 Fire’s burn scar later in the afternoon.
#FlashFlood warning issued for the #416Fire burn scar today July 25 until 5:45 pm. Storms tracking south over Hwy 550 and CR 250 as well as developing along the Hermosa Creek Drainage. Heavy #rain will cause #debris flows and #flooding. Take shelter immediately! #COwx pic.twitter.com/F709otO5zk— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) July 25, 2018
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch, which is in effect through 10 p.m. today and a flash flood warning until 5:45 p.m.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.