Flood Warning in the Western United States as a landslide closes major interstate highways


Denver, Colorado (AP) — Colorado transport officials predict that heavy rain landslides have caused “extreme damage” to major interstate highways, leaving them blocked by rock and log mountains. Officials said they warned that flash floods would increase in the next few days. Rocky Mountains and Great Basin region.

According to the National Weather Service, the risk of flooding has increased in many parts of the west where vegetation has been burned down by recent wildfires and hillsides have become more susceptible to erosion.

Interstate Highway 70 in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, was closed without saying when it would reopen after being hit by flash floods for three days. Lanes in both directions remained blocked by debris spilled from a wildfire scar in the Grizzly Leak area last year.

A torrent of rock rolling down the steep walls of the canyon broke part of a concrete road and cut off a long part of a steel guardrail, a photo provided by state officials showed.

More rain is expected in dry drought areas, triggering flash flood watches in parts of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. rice field.

I-70 is the main transport corridor between the Rocky Mountains and the west coast.

Approximately 46 miles (74 kilometers) of the interstate highway has been closed. Transport officials advised long-distance truck drivers to detour north to Interstate 80 through Wyoming.

The crew was still assessing the damage at the end of Sunday. They have been cleaning the highway since another flash flood struck on Saturday, forcing them to evacuate the area, causing even more damage.

“If you know exactly what the damage is, you’ll have a better idea of ​​when it can be resumed,” said Colorado Transport Department spokesman Tamara Lorison.

“It’s not just about removing debris. It’s also damaging,” she said. “Our engineering staff have never seen anything like this.”

More than 100 people had to spend the night on the freeway on Thursday night, including nearly 30 people evacuated to tunnels following a landslide in western Colorado.

The landslide also crossed the Loveland Pass in Colorado and closed Colorado Highway 125 and US Highway 6 near Granby. Highway 6 was reopened on Sunday, Rollison said.

According to the Red Cross, nine adults and eight children were assisted in Rock Springs, Wyoming, after the flood on Saturday.