A thunderstorm across Colorado created a mudslide Wednesday afternoon, leaving cars trapped on U.S. 24.
The flooding shut down a four-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 24 for almost three hours west of Manitou Springs, Colorado.
El Paso County officials said at least 21 vehicles were stranded on the highway. And at least one was swept off the road and was captured in a dramatic video.
John Schroyer was the one who caught this experience on camera. “I was driving up 24, and it wasn’t raining that hard, and then all of a sudden, cars just started stopping in front of me,” Schroyer told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “I looked down for a minute, and when I glanced back up, a giant black wave of mud slammed into my car. It turned my car completely around and washed me probably a few hundred feet down the highway to the east, until I finally came to rest on the side of the on ramp,” he said. “The flood waters kept going and going, and I was stuck in my car for probably half an hour, until I climbed out of the window onto my car’s roof and jumped to solid ground.”
The flooding was result of the Waldo Canyon fire last year and the Black Forest fire this year, the National Weather Service said. The fires destroyed soil and vegetation that would have absorbed the rain from the storm.
More than one-half inch of rain was reported in 10 minutes in the upper part of the canyon and more than one inch of rain in total.
“Under any other circumstances, that wouldn’t really be that big of a deal. But since we do have the burn scar in that area, that creates a very, very serious situation,” meteorologist Patrick Cioffi said.
While there was no flooding or damage reported in Black Forest, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said water was up to 30 inches deep in places at the height of flooding, and Shoup Road was briefly closed.
The U.S. 24 reopened in one direction shortly after 6 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) while a severe thunderstorm watch remained in effect until 9 p.m. (11 p.m. ET) for much of the eastern half of the state.
Car Caught in Mudslide in Colorado
John Schroyer was heading up Highway 24 to look for signs of flooding at about 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon, and this is what happened just past Manitou Springs.