Rains pound flood-ravaged Colorado, woman may be fifth fatality

A destroyed house lies piled up against a tree in Jamestown, Colorado, after a flash flood destroyed much of the town. Credit: Reuters
A destroyed house lies piled up against a tree in Jamestown, Colorado, after a flash flood destroyed much of the town.
Credit: Reuters

Relentless rains pounded flood-ravaged eastern Colorado for a fifth day on Saturday, triggering more evacuations and warnings as rescuers tried to reach thousands of people displaced or stranded by the deluge that has been blamed for at least four deaths.

Flooding from days of unprecedented rainfall in the semi-arid region has destroyed homes and closed or washed out bridges and roads from mountain canyons from metropolitan Denver to the eastern plains.

A surge from swollen rivers and creeks has flooded downstream farming counties in northeastern Colorado, prompting the evacuation on Saturday of several towns along the South Platte River.

“This is a 500-to-1,000-year flood,” Sean Conway, a commissioner of rural Weld County, said at a news conference.

Some areas have seen more than 15 inches of rain in a span of three days, which is above average rainfall totals for an entire year, the National Weather Service said.

National Guard troops have joined local emergency crews stretched thin by the scope of the disaster to team up on search and rescue missions.

Beginning on Monday, seasonal monsoon rains stalled over a swath of Colorado’s urban corridor, extending from near the Wyoming border to Colorado Springs, some 130 miles to the south.

By Wednesday night, the saturated mountain canyons west of the population centers could no longer absorb more water, and floodwaters cascaded down into the foothills, particularly in Boulder where thousands fled the rising waters.

Four people are confirmed dead from the flooding, and a fifth victim, a 60-year-old woman, is missing and feared dead after witnesses saw her mountain home swept away by floodwaters, authorities in Larimer County said.

Among the dead were a couple who stopped their car northwest of Boulder and were swept away by flood waters. Both bodies were recovered, the man’s on Thursday and the woman’s on Friday.

Another casualty was found in a collapsed building near Jamestown, an evacuated enclave north of Boulder, and still another, a man in Colorado Springs, about 100 miles to the south, officials said.

MORE FATALITIES LIKELY

Nearly 250 people are unaccounted for in two flooded counties, and though many may just be out of communication, officials warned that the death toll could rise.

“Given the destruction, there is a high probability” of more fatalities, said Sheriff Joe Pelle of Boulder County, where three of the fatalities occurred.

Ashlee Herring, a spokeswoman for the Boulder Office of Emergency Management said, “All the roads on the western side of the county are lost – they’re gone.”

The Boulder Mountain Fire Protection District sent out a message warning trapped residents that rescuers were having difficulty reaching them.

“We continue to have new landslides and road collapses,” the statement said.

Rescue crews got a break when the rains let up on Friday, but by Saturday afternoon the rains returned, prompting the National Weather Service to issue flash flood warnings for canyons west of the Denver metro area.

“This event has stunned all of us,” U.S. Senator Mark Udall said after touring the devastated area by air with Governor John Hickenlooper and other members of the state’s congressional delegation on Saturday.

The elected officials’ tour was interrupted when the crew of the National Guard helicopter they were flying in dropped down to rescue seven trapped people.

One of the hardest hit areas occurred in Weld County where the swollen St. Vrain, Big Thompson and Cache La Poudre rivers empty into the South Platte River. Rescuers in boats pulled trapped residents from flooded farms and mobile home parks.

Further downstream in Morgan County, the farming communities of Weldona, Goodrich, Muir Springs and Orchard were under evacuation orders.

The size and scope of property losses were unknown, with county assessment teams not likely to begin evaluation of the damage before early next week, once the water has receded, said Micki Frost, spokeswoman for the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.

The flooding was the worst in the state since 1976, when nearly 150 people died in Larimer County in a flash flood along the Big Thompson Canyon.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.