A large area of Colorado, primarily Boulder County, has experienced extreme rain and flooding through the week, and now reports are coming out that over 1,200 people are missing in the deluge.
From Monday to 6 PM Friday, Boulder received 14.71 inches of rain. On Friday alone, it rained 2.44 inches. The skies were relatively clear on Saturday, but forecasters predict a wet Sunday. “It looks like there is a chance of some heavy rain Sunday and a continued risk of flash flooding,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kalina, “and then we finally dry out on Monday.”
The National Guard and other authorities are telling residents to not leave their homes. The reprieve on Saturday allowed helicopters to rescue stranded individuals, but a few chose to stay. Emergency personnel warned them another rescue attempt may not happen again.
Governor John Hickenlooper unexpectedly found himself among the rescuers. While flying over the damage to survey it, his helicopter picked up several people trapped by the flood.
Praising the ability of his pilot to “get inside of four acorns in a parking space,” Hickenlooper said they dropped in to save the two groups of six people total after they were spotted by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
“Congressman Gardner, clearly with the best eyes of any of us, saw some civilians waving, trying to get rescued,” Hickenlooper said.
On Friday, the Washington Post printed out the Associated Press’s accounts of the day in Colorado.
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Authorities say as many as 2,500 people could be evacuated from Lyons by the end of the day.
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Boulder County officials say National Guard helicopters are rescuing nearly 300 residents stranded in Jamestown, a mountain town cut off by flooding. It’s unclear how many more people are in the town.
85 fifth graders from Fireside Elementary School were on a field trip in the mountains when the flood hit. Water tore out the roads from the campsite and it took three days for the National Guard to rescue them. On Sunday, the parents received updates online and all the students were reunited with their families.
Officials have confirmed at least five deaths, and many of the unaccounted may not have any means of confirmation. Police do expect the death toll to rise once the waters recede and help can return to the affected areas.
Authorities encourage people affected by the flood but unharmed to visit the Red Cross website and register under Safe and Well to alert family of their locations. Others can help by visiting this article at the Denver Post. They provide many options for those not in Colorado to help the victims.