Published August 13, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A 17-year-old girl drowned after she was caught in heavy rain in Colorado Springs, Colo., as storms pounded a region still reeling from mudslides and flash flooding that killed one person in nearby Manitou Springs last week.
The El Paso County coroner's office on Tuesday identified the victim as Rose Hammes. Authorities say she died from drowning and blunt force trauma believed caused by hitting rocks in a local drainage canal that was flooding in Colorado Springs.
The body was found around midnight after the girl's parents told authorities their daughter called Monday to say she was caught in a storm and planned to wait it out under a bridge. She was found about 3 miles from where she told her parents she was taking shelter.
Weather forecasters issued a flash flood watch for more storms on Tuesday, stressing that the watch included the entire region, not just areas inside burn scars.
The mudslide and flooding struck after about 1.3 inches of rain fell in an area above Manitou Springs that had been burned by the Waldo Canyon Fire last year. That fire destroyed 347 homes, killed two people and burned more than 28 square miles.
Areas burned by wildfires are vulnerable to flash floods because the scorched soil absorbs less water.
El Paso County sheriff's deputies said John Collins, 53, of Teller County, was killed by Friday's mudslide, which pushed onto U.S. 24.
Collins was found buried beneath debris outside his vehicle. It was unclear if Collins left his vehicle on his own or if the debris and water forced him from it.
The city, county and U.S. Forest Service are trying to blunt the effects of flooding after the wildfire with several measures, including the construction of basins in the burn area to catch sediment.