News

Hundreds evacuated, 3 dead in Colo. flooding

Hundreds evacuated, 3 dead in Colo. flooding

Emergency personnel work to rescue a man trapped in his vehicle during a flooding of Rock Creek in Lafayette, Colo. Photo: Reuters/Reuters/CBS4 Denver.

By Keith Coffman

BOULDER, Colo. (Reuters) – At least three people have died in flash flooding unleashed by torrential rain in Colorado which has forced hundreds to flee to higher ground as rising water made buildings collapse and stranded motorists in their cars, officials said on Thursday.

Heavy downpours drenched Colorado’s biggest urban areas, stretching 130 miles along the eastern slopes of the Rockies from Fort Collins near the Wyoming border south through Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs.

Among the hardest-hit areas was Boulder County, where the National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning through 10 p.m. local time. Flood watches were also posted for several counties in central and north-central parts of Colorado.

At least 6 inches of rain has fallen on the city of Boulder and up to 8 inches were measured in the foothills west of town, said Kari Bowen, a Weather Service meteorologist in Boulder, northwest of Denver.

Boulder Creek, which runs through the heart of the city and the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus, turned into a raging torrent that overran its banks and flooded adjacent parking lots and streets.

Mud and debris littered the area around the city’s public library, which was closed, along with the campus and all municipal office buildings. More than 400 students were evacuated from ground-floor campus housing overnight, campus police spokesman Ryan Huff said.

Ron Cobbley, 49, a homeless man who was out camping along the Saint Vrain River west of Boulder near the town of Ward, said he decided to leave the woods and head into town after three days in the rain.

“It was raging with whitewater,” he said of the river.

Steady rain began falling Monday but grew more intense late Tuesday and into Wednesday. Roads across the region were flooded out, and standing water throughout Denver snarled morning rush-hour in the state capital.

“These constant rainstorms we typically don’t see (in eastern Colorado),” the Weather Service’s Bowen said.

EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CONDITIONS

A Boulder County Office of Emergency Management spokesman said conditions were “extremely dangerous” and that up to 4 inches of additional rain was expected to fall in the area on Thursday before tapering off.

All 200 residents of Jamestown, just north of Boulder, were forced to flee overnight, while the town of Lyons, further to the north, was cut off as floodwaters washed out U.S. Route 36 linking Lyons to Boulder, county Sheriff Joe Pelle said.

He said Lyons reported that its residents had no fresh running water and that its sewer plant had been knocked out.

“We’re trying desperately to get to them,” Pelle said.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office reported in a Twitter posting that a dam had burst, and that “extrication operations” were under way, but no further information was immediately available.

At least two people died in flooding in Boulder County, one whose body was found in a collapsed home by emergency crews searching door to door for victims in and around Jamestown, county officials said

The body of a third victim, a man, was found by police on flood-watch patrols in Colorado Springs, about 100 miles to the south, officials said.

Pelle said it was possible that more flood-related fatalities could emerge as emergency crews reached areas cut off by high water.

“There is water everywhere,” said Andrew Barth, the emergency management spokesman in Boulder County. “We’ve had several structural collapses. There’s mud and muck and debris everywhere. Cars are stranded all over the place.”

In Broomfield, a small town just northwest of Denver, three people were rescued from an upside-down car that was swept into a washed-out culvert along a roadway with two other vehicles, the Boulder Emergency Management Office said.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Daughter reveals Joan Rivers is still on life support

Comedian Joan Rivers arrives for the premiere of the documentary "Joan Rivers - A Piece Of Work" during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 25, 2010.

Comedian Joan Rivers remains on life support after being hospitalized in serious condition due to cardiac arrest.

in Music

Marty Raybon rejoins Shenandoah

Marty Raybon rides in the CMA Festival Kick-Off Parade in Nashville, Wednesday, June 9, 2010.

Marty Raybon has reunited with Shenandoah, the band he co-founded in 1984 and fronted for 13 years.

in Lifestyle

Pistachios may help reduce diabetes risk

Pistachios are seen after sorting at a processing factory in Rafsanjan, 1,000 kilometers southeast of Tehran September 23, 2008.

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide.

in Lifestyle

Triathlons popular with middle-aged athletes

Runners and bikers compete in the 34th annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, California June 1, 2014.

Triathlons, the swim-bike-run races of varying lengths, are scaling the bucket lists of many middle-aged athletes.

in Entertainment

Angelina Jolie debuts wedding dress featuring kids’ artwork

The cover of People magazine, dated 15th September, 2014, featuring the wedding of Angelina Jolie to Brad Pitt.

Angelina Jolie has debuted photos of her surprise nuptials to Brad Pitt, revealing she wore a designer wedding gown featuring artwork by their six children.