Mudslides Shut Down I-70 in Colorado

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Mudslides Shut Down I-70 in Colorado

Colorado Governor Jared Polis said he would declare a state of emergency following a landslide through Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, west of Denver, over the weekend.

The highway is an important transportation route for Colorado residents and a vital artery to the economy of the western United States, Mr. Polis said during a news conference on Monday. Images of damage shared by the Colorado Department of Transportation show large rocks, trees and other debris on the highway.

Mr Polis said officials did not yet know the extent of the damage and said sections of the highway would remain closed for weeks.

The month of July receives an average of less than two and a half inches of rain in Glenwood Canyon, Mr Polis said. That area received four inches of rain in five days. Extensive damage was reported in several sections of the highway, and some areas contained 10 feet or more of mud.

“Given the three historic wildfires that we experienced last summer, the three largest in the history of our state, we knew we would see the serious impact that burn scars and debris could have on a landscape,” Mr. Polis said.

Last year’s Cameron Peak fire was the largest in Colorado history, consuming more than 200,000 acres.

The National Weather Service said the current monsoon weather pattern in Colorado could cause more damage, and flooding conditions remained in place for much of the western part of the state Tuesday. Strong thunderstorms were also expected during the day with strong thunderstorms.

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“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Mr. Polis. “We have to make it through this monsoon season. Once a freeze has hit, it is less likely to be a dire situation. “

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