KUSA - Highway 24 in Manitou Springs has reopened after rushing flood waters swept away at least a dozen cars earlier Wednesday.
Heavy rain poured down over the Waldo Canyon burn scar, shooting water, soot, rocks and debris down the canyon and onto the highway.
A four-mile stretch of the highway was closed for several hours. El Paso County says at least 21 vehicles were stranded.
Commuters appeared to have been taken by surprise by the rushing waters. Several muddied cars lined Highway 24.
Christine and Katie Hensley were in one of more than a dozen cars swept away by rushing water and mud. They say it hit them like a wall, sending their car spinning.
At one point, the mother and daughter said they were stuck in the mud facing oncoming traffic. Then another wall of water came bearing down. There was only one thing Christine Hensley said she could do.
"I said we're just going to pray, and that's what we did," Christine Hensley said. "We prayed for about 10 seconds."
Like the others, their car did stop. The Hensley's car finally came to rest on the median of the highway.
Dramatic cell phone video shot by commuter Ed Flanagan showed a car being swept away on U.S. 24. The driver of the car was not injured.
Firefighters helped a group of people cross a small section of moving water near the Cave of the Winds. Fire crews put down a ladder so that the people, including a small child, could get across safely.
The National Weather Service had issued flash flood warnings Wednesday afternoon for areas scarred by the Waldo Canyon Fire last year and the Black Forest Fire this year, since soil and vegetation that normally would absorb rainfall there has been burned away.
A total of eight flood victims were brought to a Manitou Springs Red Cross shelter Wednesday night.
A flash flood in the Waldo Canyon burn scar July 1 damaged more than 20 homes in Manitou Springs.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)