A car gets caught in a flash flood on US Highway 24 near Manitou Springs, Colo., and is swept away. Video courtesy Ed Flanagan — Manitou Motion Pictures.
Flash floods rising as high as 2½ feet caused a massive mudslide Wednesday that swept away a car, stranded many others and closed a busy highway in the Colorado Springs area.
The flooding shut down a four-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 24 for almost three hours west of Manitou Springs as motorists rode out a summer storm that dumped heavy rain and golfball-size hail on the region.
El Paso County officials said at least 21 vehicles were stranded on the highway. And at least one was swept off the road — an incident that was captured in the dramatic video at the top of this story.
Colorado State Patrol
An SUV was one of at least 21 vehicles that were left stranded along U.S. Highway 24 after flash floods near Manitou Springs, Colo.
The driver wasn't injured. In fact, no injuries were immediately reported, even as mud-splattered disabled vehicles, some of them apparently damaged, lined the highway, NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver reported.
The highway reopened in one direction shortly after 6 p.m. (8 p.m. ET).
The flooding was the result in part 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 normally would have absorbed much of the rainfall.
State troopers working the Black Forest fire were diverted to help with evacuations, patrols and roadblocks, the state patrol said.
A severe thunderstorm watch remained in effect until 9 p.m. (11 p.m. ET) for much of the eastern half of the state.