Torrential rains from this past Saturday night, July 12, brought sudden flooding to several low-lying portions of Lamar and southeast Colorado. From Rocky Ford, east to Lamar, heavy rain and strong winds caused Highway 50 to close in some low areas, especially at several railroad underpasses until the waters receded.
A lot of Sunday morning on-lookers were out as early as sunrise, surveying the swollen creek running through Willow Creek Park. Roads were closed on College Street, the short stretch of road spanning the creek at Woodlawn Drive and the portion of Willow Valley Road just east of the tennis courts where a water main spilled over the roadway. By mid-afternoon, the water level had dropped, but was still strong enough to continue to erode and widen a portion of the creek in the park. Rain fall amounts ranged between two to three inches in some communities.
North Gateway Park, adjacent to the Arkansas River in Lamar, also saw temporary flooding, as waters rose enough to connect the first pond to the second pond due east. The area in between, about eight acres, had been planted with around 100 shrubs and plants this past Arbor Day weekend. The northern end of the park was roped off from the pubic due to the high water and a portion of the eastern edge of the parking lot in that section will need grading because of soil erosion from the water runoff.
The rains didn’t come to a complete halt either. A fast moving storm on Monday triggered a Code Red alert for Prowers County for severe thunderstorm warnings. A brief funnel cloud appeared east of Lamar as sited from the parking lot of Tri County Ford, and went back into the clouds after a few moments. Strong winds, heavy rains and in some instances, ping-pong ball sized hail had lunchtime commuters ducking for cover. City street crews were opening clogged drains at several intersections as the hail knocked down leaves into the streets and gutters. One workman, armed with a long pitchfork, was busy dislodging accumulated tumbleweeds and debris at the canal just north of Lamar Community College.
By Russ Baldwin
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