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Deadly Floods Cause Severe Damage Colorado

Emergency crews struggled with rushing water — and still more rain — Thursday night as they tried to reach people stranded by a flash flood blamed for at least three deaths along Colorado’s Rocky Mountain range.

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — As rain continued for a seventh day, inundating much of the state and creating a virtual moat around the closed Rocky Mountain National Park, Sandra Ellison waited at the Timberline Church here Sunday for the helicopters that would evacuate her parents, 86 and 85.


Residents are evacuated by National Guardsmen in Boulder County, Colo., on Sept. 12.

But choppers couldn’t operate in the torrential rain and heavy clouds. Her parents would have to wait another day to escape their flooded, remote community near Glenhaven. Like many others in Colorado, they remained trapped inside a slow-motion disaster that has washed out roads, broken bridges from their embankments and separated families.

“I just wanted to be here when they got off the helicopter,” Ellison said.

Maybe the helicopters will come Monday. If the fog lifts. If the rain stops.

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Boulder, Colorado (CNN) — Colorado residents are keeping a wary eye on the sky as more rain is forecast for Sunday.

As dawn broke, officials worried about continued rescue operations.

“We’re going to be in for some steady rain over the next 12 hours,” said Kim Kobel, a spokesperson for Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management.

It shouldn’t total more than 1 to 2 inches though. “So that’s the good news,” Kobel said.

Still, authorities worry that any additional water on ground that’s already soaked by up to 15 inches of rain will cause more flooding and dislodge mud and debris. Also, the omnipresent clouds pose a problem for aerial rescue efforts. “It’s unlikely at this point that we’ll be able to reach those who are stranded in the hard-to-reach areas,” Kobel said.

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To donate to relief efforts for the victims of the Colorado floods, click onto or the Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross.


Clear skies allowed for more evacuations and rescues in flood-devastated Colorado Friday, but the forecast through Sunday called for more heavy rain.

And even after the last of the storms, authorities can’t say how long it will take to reach residents who will remain isolated by devastated roads.

The confirmed death toll reached four when Boulder County officials recovered the body of a woman who had been swept away after getting out of her vehicle Thursday, Sheriff Joe Pelle said. Authorities already had recovered the body of a man who left the same car and tried to save the woman. One other death had been reported in Boulder County and one in El Paso County.

President Barack Obama declared an emergency for Boulder, Larimer and El Paso counties, FEMA announced Friday. The declaration allowed FEMA to bring in four rescue teams, the largest ever deployment in Colorado, officials said.

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Emergency crews struggled with rushing water — and still more rain — Thursday night as they tried to reach people stranded by a flash flood blamed for at least three deaths along Colorado’s Rocky Mountain range.

At least 3 dead in Colorado flooding

At least three are dead and hundreds evacuated in what’s called unprecedented flooding around Boulder, Colorado.

As Governor John Hickenlooper noted, Coloradans went to bed Wednesday night with no inkling that overnight rain could be heavy enough to flood canyons and send rivers of water from Boulder south to Colorado Springs.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said the “devastating storm” dumped more than half a foot of rain on the region during a 19-hour period.  The widespread flash flooding washed out roads, pushed dams to their limits and beyond and killed at least three people.

And late Thursday President Barack Obama stepped in. Obama signed an emergency declaration for Colorado, an action that helps allocate federal assistance to the issue.

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Emergency crews in Colorado braved racing floodwaters early Thursday, rescuing a man from a partially submerged car, live on television.


Photo credit: KCNC via CNN

The scene in Lafayette, Colorado, unfolded in video from CNN affiliate KCNC after a night of torrential rain that left at least three people dead. Rock slides and flash flooding collapsed homes, put dams at risk and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.

In Larimer County, a dam break trapped three people, and weather was preventing rescue helicopters from launching to help them.

In nearby Boulder County, emergency officials were getting calls for help “by the dozen” Thursday morning, Boulder County spokesman Andrew Barth said. Crews couldn’t reach some places because of debris, mud and steep terrain, he said.

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DENVER — Four days of rain have turned parts of Colorado into a flash-flood zone as rising waters have brought death, destruction and mudslides, forcing evacuations and shuttering schools.


More than half a foot of rain deluged Boulder County, Col., setting off flooding and rock slides that collapsed homes, put dams at risk and killed at least two people. (Credit: David Harpe/KDVR)

At least three deaths have been confirmed, officials said Thursday, as search-and-rescue teams were trying to reach stranded residents and motorists in Boulder and nearby mountain communities and heavy rains continued.

“The city of Boulder is just overwhelmed with water,” Barbara Halpin, a spokeswoman for the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, told The Times. “I’ve heard from people who say they have lived here for 25 years and have never seen anything like it.”

The National Weather Service warned of an “extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation” throughout the region as it posted flash-flood warnings, watches and advisories throughout the morning.

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