Rye rains reach almost 6 inches

Town experiences ‘minor flooding’

From page 5A of the Tuesday, July 16 edition of The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper

By Chris Clark and Anthony Settipani

Despite accumulating 5-6 inches of rainfall in 19 hours Sunday and Monday, for Rye’s citizens, the rainstorm amounted to little more than water under the bridge.

Rye Mayor Terry Mabrey said the town experienced only “minor flooding,” and no structural damage as the Greenhorn Creek flowed over its banks, leading to a road closure on Boulder Avenue Monday between Main and Peterson streets. Boulder reopened Monday afternoon.

Mabrey, along with a Pueblo County sheriff’s deputy and the Rye Fire Department, monitored the two bridges over the Greenhorn Creek from midnight Monday and into the afternoon, working to make sure the area under the bridges was clear of debris.

As of Monday afternoon, Mabrey was waiting for water levels to recede so the road and bridges could be checked for erosion that might make them unstable.

“The community has been outstanding,” said Mabrey. Families near the flooded areas helped to clear debris Monday.

According to the National Weather Service, Rye typically averages just 31⁄2 inches of precipitation in July — a figure that was nearly doubled Sunday and Monday.

“It’s summertime. Heavy downpours can happen,” Patrick Cioffi, a National Weather Service meteorologist said. “But it is rare to see this much precipitation.”

Canon City reported 0.35-0.56 inches. Alamosa reported just 0.06 inches and Wetmore reported 1.04 inches.

In the immediate Pueblo area, The Chieftain’s North Side weather spotter reported 0.4 inches. The South Side reported 0.32 inches, Avondale reported 0.65 inches and Pueblo West reported 1 inch.

Pueblo should see increasing temperatures throughout the week, according to NWS meteorologist John Kalina.

“For the remainder of today, we expect it to become partly sunny,” he said, “but there will be some scattered showers.

“Tonight should be partly cloudy, mostly isolated early evening thunderstorms.”

Kalina said that Sunday night rains “officially carried a trace, through midnight.”

Steve Eubanks, with the Streets and Storm Water Division of Pueblo City Public Works Department, added that those trace amounts

were really rather insignificant.

“It was pretty much a nonevent,” he said. “There’s really nothing to speak of that fell here in Pueblo.”

In the larger scheme of things, Pueblo still is in a severe drought. Kalina said that as of Monday, the city experienced 0.13 inches of rain for the month of July. Compared with an average of 0.80 inches, this is two-thirds of an inch below average.

In terms of the year to date, Pueblo has seen 2.33 inches of rainfall, compared with an average of 6.65 inches. By this time last year, there had been 3.14 inches.

According to The U.S. Drought Monitor, Pueblo County currently varies between “severe” and “exceptional” levels of drought, which are the two highest levels on the organization’s scale. The Monitor’s data was refreshed on JulyThursday.

“They’re comparing this drought to the Dust Bowl,” Eubanks said, “and they say that Southern Colorado was actually the epicenter of the Dust Bowl back then.”

He said that, of course, every little bit of moisture helps, but the drought situation remains “beyond extreme.”

“We’re at the point where we need rain so badly that we wouldn’t mind a little flooding,” he said.

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