Flash flooding is the most common natural hazard in Colorado Springs. Flash floods tend to occur from May through September, and are usually caused by thunderstorms that are out of sight and hearing range of people downstream. Runoff from the mountains can quickly cause the water levels of small creeks and dry streambeds to rise to unsafe levels. These walls of water are fast moving and can easily reach heights of 10-20 feet. Know which streams and waterways are nearby, and where you are in relation to them. Learn More (video).
You should never attempt to cross an area that is flooding. It only takes 6 inches of fast moving water to knock you off your feet. Just 10 inches of moving water can move a car, and 18 inches can float your vehicle. Your best course of action is to immediately seek higher ground.
- An urban and small stream advisory means that isolated flooding of streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.
- A flash flood watch means that flash flooding is possible. Be alert and prepared to move to high ground. Watch for rising water levels or unusual street flooding is possible. Listen to local radio or television stations or Weather Service radio for possible flash flood warnings and bulletins. Locate a hand crank or battery powered radio and extra batteries.
- A flash flood warning means that a flash flood is occurring or is about to occur. If necessary relocate immediately and seek high ground away from high risk areas and water. Do not attempt to cross moving water either on foot or in your vehicle.
- Within Colorado Springs city limits contact the Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division by calling 719-385-ROAD
- Outside of city limits contact the El Paso County Public Service Department at 719-520-6890
Before a Flood - Flood Preparedness
- Create a plan to move everyone in your family to higher ground during a flood event and make sure each member of your family understands the plan.
- Have a 72-hour kit ready to go in case you need to evacuate – Remember the 6 P’s in your planning – papers, pills (medicine), phone, pets, purse (money) and photos.
- Stay aware of local flash flood warnings through local radio, TV and on www.weather.gov/pueblo. Have a battery-operated radio available.
- Register your phone (landline or cell) for emergency notifications at http://www.elpasoteller911.org/.
- Purchase flood insurance – most homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding. (http://www.floodsmart.gov/)
- Take photos of your belongings in case you need to file insurance claims after a flood event.
- Take time to read the wealth of information on flooding on this page
During a Flood Event
- Move to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
- Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams, drive through flooded roadways or allow children to play in drainage areas (just 6 inches of moving water can knock an adult off their feet).
- If water rises in your home before you can evacuate, move to the top floor, attic or roof.
- Stay aware of local flash flood warnings through local radio, TV and on www.weather.gov/Pueblo. Have a battery-operated radio available.
- If you come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
- If you see clogged inlets or other public drainage infrastructure problems, report it immediately to:
- City Streets Division (719) 385-5934
El Paso County Public Service Dept. (719) 520-6891
Reserve the use of 9-1-1 for life-threatening emergencies. For non-emergent needs requiring public safety response, call 444-7000 within City limits or 390-5555 in El Paso County. For information related questions, call Pikes Peak United Way Information & Referral at (719) 955-0742.
Receive Weather Alerts
Maps and additional Info
El Paso County FEMA Flood Zone Map
To see if your home or is in a flood risk area, view the map below. Or, open the map in a new window.
This map will NOT save your life, property, or public health. Citizens must take personal responsibility for protecting their own safety during flash flood occurrences. Any property downstream of a burned area has risk . This product is intended for planning purposes only. Post-fire conditions have elevated the flood threat, including areas that are not yet mapped. Other low lying areas may be threatened. Please contact your insurance agent or visit www.floodSmart.gov to evaluate your insurance protection options. The post-fire BAER team (citation) has indicated that potential water and sediment flow from the burn area may have increased by 350%. This site will include additional information regarding post fire hazards as it becomes available.
Additional maps and other areas with heightened risk:
- North Douglas Creek (second largest burn area with drainage flows to the City) -- drains to a channel running through subdivisions west and east of Centennial (originating near Pikeview Quarry, crossing under Flying W Ranch Road and Centennial Blvd, along Mule Deer Drive just west of Ute Valley Park), crossing Garden of the Gods Road near Elkton Drive and discharging to Monument Creek
- South Douglas Creek -- drains to a channel next to Flying W Ranch Road, crossing Garden of the Gods Road at Arrows West Drive and heading east, past Centennial Blvd through Holland Park, and discharging to Monument Creek
- Camp Creek/31st Street channels (largest burn area with drainage flows to the City) -- drains through Queens Canyon, through Glen Eyrie, Garden of the Gods, Rockledge Ranch and 31st Street channel, and discharging to Fountain Creek
- Dry Creek through Peregrine and Rockrimmon, in a channel running through subdivisions, parallel and south of Woodmen Road, crossing under Rockrimmon Blvd, and discharging to Monument Creek
- Fountain Creek beginning upstream of Manitou Springs then running through Colorado Springs next to Highway 24
Williams Canyon located west of Manitou Springs and north of Highway 24
Majestic Drive and Majestic Park
Any moderately to heavily burned areas and areas downstream
Useful Links for Flood Information:
- National Flood Insurance Program
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for before and after flooding events
- Local weather information, including any advisories, watches or warnings in effect
- Red Cross Flood Preparedness Checklist
- The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (Click the Floodplain button)