Flights resume at Denver airport after thunderstorm drenches city

The worst was likely over by 5 p.m.

A vehicle sunk into a drainage ditch at Andrews and Tulsa Courts as a massive rainstorm causes flooding in Montbello, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A vehicle sunk into a drainage ditch at Andrews and Tulsa Courts as a massive rainstorm causes flooding in Montbello, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

A thunderstorm dropped heavy rain in parts of Denver on Monday afternoon, but the worst was likely over by 5 p.m., according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin.

The storm grounded flights at Denver International Airport for about an hour, but the hold was lifted by 5:20 p.m. Still, travelers were encouraged to check with their airlines about the status of their flights.

“It’s still raining out here … We’ll see delays here for a while,” said airport spokesperson Emily Williams.

The storm didn’t result in any major flooding, though there were reports of minor street flooding, Fredin said. He said Tuesday could bring more afternoon showers and scattered storms, but it wasn’t expected to be as bad as Monday.

A flood advisory was issued at 4:16 p.m. for the northeastern portions of Denver on Monday afternoon. The storm caused some traffic delays for commuters.

Cars attempt to drive north on Peoria Street as a massive rainstorm causes flooding in Montbello, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Cars attempt to drive north on Peoria Street as a massive rainstorm causes flooding in Montbello, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

“Driving from Capitol Hill, a lot of standing water, a lot of stop-and-go traffic,”said Annette Mainland, director of philanthropy for the Trust for Public Land. “Seven miles took me 50 minutes. Normally I drive an SUV, but today I was driving my husband’s Mini Cooper… I took it slowly.”

Mainland was on the way to an unveiling of a new climbing wall at Montbello Open Space Park, a new nature preserve set to open next year off Peoria Street. The ceremony, which was supposed to see an appearance from Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, among others, was cancelled.

A flood control system got an accidental test at Montbello Open Space Park after the unveling of a new climbing wall (still under a veil, to the right) was cancelled due to  massive rainstorm, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A flood control system got an accidental test at Montbello Open Space Park after the unveling of a new climbing wall (still under a veil, to the right) was cancelled due to massive rainstorm, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Organizers expressed disappointment, but there was one bright spot.

“We’re excited because the stormwater control worked,” said Chandi Aldena, project cooridnator for the Trust for Public Land. The park’s landscaping included a drainage ditch that’s meant to handle 50 to 100 year flood events. It was filled with water.

“Its the silver lining,” Aldena said. “Got to find that silver lining when you’re drenched.”

James Coleman, House District 7’s representative at the Colorado State House, said he had some trouble driving his minivan to the cancelled event, but he wasn’t too worried about it.

“I was born and raised here. I’ve seen flash floods,” he said. Even still, he was forced to take a detour on the way and drive through some deep puddles. “We were in the water.”

A massive rainstorm causes flooding on Andrews Court in Montbello, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A massive rainstorm causes flooding on Andrews Court in Montbello, July 23, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Diversions may have been necessary. One SUV spotted had washed into a drainage channel in Montbello from the road. The channel, which is clearly below street level when it’s dry, was invisible beneath the water line that stretched the entire street.

Kevin J. Beaty contributed to this report.