Death toll rises in Colorado floods with another feared dead

DENVER Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:22pm EDT

1 of 13. An aerial view of vehicles submerged in flood waters along the South Platte River near Greenley, Colorado September 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/John Wark

DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado authorities warned on Sunday that the death toll likely would rise from historic flooding in the state as a second person was confirmed missing and presumed dead, in addition to four deaths previously verified.

An 80-year-old woman whose home was washed away by floodwaters in Larimer County was the latest victim feared dead from the week-long rains, said sheriff's spokesman John Schulz.

"The woman was injured and couldn't get out of her house, and when neighbors went back to help her, the house was gone," Schulz said.

A 60-year-old woman whose home was swept way in the same area of the Big Thompson Canyon likely perished as well, Schulz said.

Officials have confirmed the deaths of four people in the flooding: Three in Boulder County, and one in Colorado Springs, about 100 miles south of Boulder.

President Barack Obama declared the area a federal disaster over the weekend.

More than 500 people remain unaccounted for in Boulder and Larimer counties, authorities said.

U.S. National Guard and U.S. Army troops have rescued 1,750 people cut off by washed-out roads in the mountain canyons of Boulder and Larimer counties, Army spokesman Major Earl Brown said in a statement.

On Saturday, troops airlifted to safety 85 fifth-graders who were on a school trip in Boulder County when heavy rains collapsed roads, stranding them near Jamestown.

Driving rain and low cloud ceilings on Sunday grounded the air resources until the weather clears, officials said.

Meanwhile, residents in the farming communities of northeastern Colorado braced for a surge from the north-flowing South Platte River.

Morgan County Sheriff James Crone said all eight bridges spanning waterways in the county were impassable from the rising river.

"Our county is cut in half," he said.

Crone said there would be significant crop damage from standing water in the corn, hay, millet and sugar beet fields that dot the agricultural county.

"There is no way for the water to drain, so come November when it freezes, it's going to be one huge ice cube," he said.

Forty miles northeast in Logan County, authorities have ordered evacuations as the river crest was forecast to exceed historic levels.

Emergency Manager Bob Owens warned residents to prepare for sustained flooding over the next several days.

"This is going to be severe," he said in a statement.

Micki Trost, spokeswoman for the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, said that until rescue efforts were complete and the floodwaters recede, officials would not be able to assess the scope of the damage.

(Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and Maureen Bavdek)

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Comments (5)
WhyMeLord wrote:
Colorado was an accident just waiting to happen. Having lived there for over 25 years, I witnessed the severe devastation of their forests due to fires, beetles, fungus, and improper forest management by folks who should have known better. This debacle was bad enough by itself, but when you add in mankind’s desire to live on the edge (building their homes in flood plains and canyons) this disaster was inevitable.
I feel bad for those who suffer, but they’ve only themselves to blame.

Sep 15, 2013 11:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CDN_Rebel wrote:
Not to make slight of the loss of life in Colorado, but if flood happened in half the countries in the world the death toll would be closer to 10k (this Pakistan, India, and China off the top of my head have had just that)… a terrible tragedy to Americans is everyday life to so many. But you’d rather bury your heads in the sand than face it and do something. And yes, that means on Syria as well. I remember the outrage when a few envelopes with anthrax made circulation around Washington after 9/11 and how entire services and buildings were continually shut-down on any whispered rumour of threat – and Assad intentionally gassed his capital (at least 6 and up to 14 times over the course of the war) and the majority of Americans shrug their shoulders. I just hope you don’t come back 10yrs from now and I say ‘I wish we would have done something in Syria’, you know, like Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, hell even Chechnya.

Sep 15, 2013 12:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
diluded0000 wrote:
WhyMe, I just talked to my friend from work, and his house is full of water. I’ll be sure to tell him it is his own fault for moving into a place that has never, in the history of Longmont, ever flooded before. Your rudeness is beyond comprehension. Have some manners.

Sep 15, 2013 6:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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