The rain in Colorado continued to fall over the weekend, adding to the 15 inches that initially flooded the state and what’s estimated to be $150 million of road and bridge damages in Boulder County alone. CNN is reporting that four people have died, two more are feared dead and 500 remain unaccounted for. Over 1,000 residents are still waiting to be evacuated from their homes. Some mountain communities have been cut off by the waters since last Wednesday.
As Monday dawns, rescue workers report that they’re hoping for a window of opportunity — an abatement in the story weather that will allow them to launch the helicopters that Sunday were forced to remain grounded.
“You’re got to remember, a lot of these folks lost cellphones, landlines, the Internet four to five days ago,” said Colorado governor John Hickenlooper. “I am very hopeful that the vast majority of these people are safe and sound.” However, he said, authorities expect the death toll to rise.
An estimated 1,500 homes have been destroyed and another 17,500 damaged. In Estes Park, the AP reports, shopkeepers have returned to their businesses and are attempting to salvage as much as possible before further damage can occur. The Big Thompson River, many fear, could again rise.
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told reporters Sunday that Coloradans were rising to the occasion to help their neighbors and, when necessary, to rescue themselves. There are reports of people hiking to safety and assisting one another in the cleanup: “Inch by inch, mile by mile, community by community, they are taking this stuff back.”