- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Roads and schools were closed in eastern Colorado after a spring storm brought rain, snow and flooding over the weekend, and while sunny skies on Monday signaled the start of a break, officials were keeping a close eye on high rivers.

“We should dry out a little bit” over the next few days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin.

Fredin said a bulge of water was working its way through the region’s river systems, with water levels already receding in Weld County and peaks expected in Logan and Morgan counties at midweek.

Weld County spokeswoman Jennifer Finch said two dozen stretches of Weld County road were closed Monday because of flooding, but that the worst was winding down.

“Hopefully with the dry weather predicted over the new few days, we will continue to see the water levels continue to drop,” she said in a statement, adding the snowmelt usually starts at this time of year and runoff was expected to continue into June.

In Logan County, the Pawnee Creek, which runs into the South Platte, was full and out of its banks in several locations. The city of Sterling closed its Pioneer Park and crews cleared debris along the Pawnee between Sterling and Atwood Sunday to lessen the flooding threat.

In Morgan County, government spokesman Rogelio Segura told AP that residents are being asked to stay off water-logged rural roads, and that schools are closed Monday and may be closed Tuesday.

Segura said that after 10 days of rain and snow, “it’s really crazy out here because our ground is so saturated. There’s just no place for the water to go.”

The Platte was projected to crest at 22 feet later this week, Segura said, noting it crested at 25 during major flooding in 2013.

“Hopefully our bridges can handle it,” he said.

None of the counties have seen weather-related injuries or had to implement their evacuation plans. But an ambulance transferring a patient was swept off a Morgan County road by swift-moving water early Sunday.

The ambulance was moved about 100 yards down the normally-dry Antelope Creek, turned 180-degrees and became caught on the stream bank just long enough for five people including the crew and patient to get out of the rear of the ambulance without injury, leaving the vehicle marooned, Firefighter Travis Bailey of the Wiggins Rural Fire Protection District said.

Saturday was the most dramatic day, with nearly 18 inches of snow falling in parts of southern Colorado. Two tornados were spotted, one south of Ellicott east of Colorado Springs and another in Lincoln County in northeast Colorado, and golf-ball-size hail fell east of Pueblo on Saturday.

A number of power outages were reported Sunday from Woodland Park, Black Forest, and Falcon.

In northeastern Colorado, several roads and highways, including westbound Interstate 76 and Colorado Highways 52, and Colorado Highway 194 in southeastern Colorado, were closed by flooding on Sunday. The interstate highway was later cleared and reopened.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports (https://bit.ly/1EwbtYP ) that rain caused a 15-foot-high retaining wall to collapse on Sunday. Cpt. Steve Oswald of the Colorado Springs Fire Department said the structure to fell into the back of a dealership’s used car building.


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