When the sun came out Monday, city workers in front loaders and residents armed with shovels continued cleanup effort in areas where major flooding left piles of mud.
Sunday night’s rain flowed like a river down both sides of College Drive. The torrent left mud and debris throughout the neighborhood. Fortunately, the half-inch of rain that fell Sunday night didn’t cause any more accidents or residential flooding, said Durango police spokesman Lt. Ray Shupe.
Much of the debris along city streets was isolated to the area around College Drive from East Eighth Avenue to East Third Avenue, which is where crews focused their cleanup efforts Monday, said Street Superintendent Levi Lloyd.
Barb Bell, a resident on North College Drive, was thankful for their help after mud covered her driveway.
“It was definitely more mud than I’ve ever seen,” Bell said.
The Horse Gulch trailhead parking lot and the Horse Gulch Health Campus parking lot also were totally buried in mud after rock and debris blocked a culvert under the trailhead’s new lot, said Dirk Hart, with Parks and Recreation.
When crews arrived Monday morning, water was flowing over the totally blocked culvert and into the parking lot.
“Mother Nature can do some real damage,” Hart said.
Crews brought in two excavators to clear the culvert and hoped to be mostly finished Monday and to restore drainage as soon as possible. During the cleanup, trails remained open.
A clogged storm pipe at the southern end of Goeglein Gulch Road that created enough water pressure to lift an 800-pound concrete drain cover already had been excavated by Monday morning, Lloyd said. However, the velocity of the torrent racing over the street cased asphalt damage on the road surface near the flood drain and is still blocked off. The pipe was destroyed by the rock and debris, and Lloyd said he hoped to have contractor hired in the next five to 10 days to repair it.
Below the pipe, businesses’ parking lots were still coated with a thin layer of mud Monday, even though employees had started tackling the problem.
Rebecca Gilstrap, an assistant manager at the Everyday convenience store, began cleaning the lot about 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, shoveling “tons of mud, tree branches, trash and more mud,” she said.
On North College Drive, water flowed into the Mountain Sun Apartments parking lot, creating a pooling several feet deep. Maintenance man Bryan Kulk spent 4½ hours clearing the large lot using Bobcats and a power washer.
Across the county, crews were able to keep all roads open, said Butch Knowlton, director of the Office of Emergency Management.
However, many roadside drainage ditches are full of debris, and Knowlton said he expected it to take days to clean them all.
The rain also left silt and standing water along the sides of many roads making them treacherous.
“People just need to slow down,” Knowlton said.
The county will have the chance to dry out as there is no precipitation expected today through Thursday, said Joe Ramey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
Durango’s official measurement from the storms during the weekend came in at 2.42 inches, but reports of more than 4 inches came in from around town.
September’s normal precipitation is 1.9 inches, which means Durango received more than the month’s worth of rain in six hours Sunday morning.
Next weekend promises widespread showers; however, it is unknown whether it will be Saturday or Sunday, Ramey said.
Late August through October is a wet time for the region because of tropical storms off the coast of Mexico. The region missed moisture from Hurricane Odile. However, there are still some tropical storms south of the Mexico’s Baja that could bring heavy rain to the region, Ramey said.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Herald Staff Writer Brandon Mathis contributed to this report.