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Colorado historic flooding – Massive destruction

BOULDER, Colo. — Another round of storms swept into battered Colorado on Saturday as weary residents reeled from days of death and destruction wrought by historic flooding.



Evacuations continued at a frantic pace as rescuers encountered swamped roads, inundated homes and the dark forecast of more rain to come.

more than 170 people unaccounted for in the Boulder area were not considered missing yet, though they had not contacted family members.

One woman is presumed dead and about 350 were unaccounted for as officials discovered the enormity of destruction the floods brought to Larimer County and an unknown number of homes, The Coloradoan reported Saturday.

Thousands of people have fled homes in an area that normally sees less than 2 inches of rain in all of September but has been deluged by more than 14 inches this week alone, the National Weather Service said.

The lastest storms “could bring another 1-3 inches of rain,” Scott Entrekin, a weather service meteorologist in Boulder, told USA TODAY. “We don’t expect quite the level of intensity we’ve seen the last few days, but the soil is saturated, so it won’t take much to do damage.”

Many of those driven from their homes may not be able to return for weeks. Early Saturday, National Guard helicopters evacuated hundreds of residents from Jamestown, a mountain town northwest of Boulder.

President Obama declared an emergency for three counties in Colorado, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said a FEMA assistance team was coordinating with state and local officials.The U.S. Transportation Department said it would immediately provide $5 million in emergency relief funds to help Colorado cover the costs of repairing roads and bridges.

Flood warnings remained in effect Saturday from Denver to the Wyoming border. Parts of New Mexico and Texas also were dealing with torrential rains, flooding and evacuations.

Flood warnings remained in effect Saturday from Denver to the Wyoming border. Parts of New Mexico and Texas also were dealing with torrential rains, flooding and evacuations.

In neighboring New Mexico, state police on Saturday reported the first death related to massive flooding in the state this week from record heavy rains and overflowing rivers. A man died after his vehicle washed into a ravine covered in mud near the Elephant Butte dam, probably Friday during flooding, said New Mexico State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez.

About 15 miles north of Boulder, the Colorado National Guard began evacuating 2,500 residents of Lyons at daybreak Friday.

Death toll may rise

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said authorities have to be “realistic” about the chances that the death toll will rise as rescuers penetrate farther into isolated areas.

No new deaths were confirmed Saturday, but Larimer County officials said a 60-year-old woman was presumed dead after witnesses saw her being swept away by floodwaters that demolished her home. Neighbors tried unsuccessfully to rescue the woman, said Nick Christensen, executive officer of the sheriff’s office. Her body had not been recovered.

At least four deaths have been blamed on the flooding, and a fifth person is presumed dead. More than 500 were unaccounted for, although authorities cautioned that designation included people who simply have not yet contacted concerned relatives elsewhere.

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