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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flooding in Colorado Leaves at Least 3 Dead

Video from KCNC-TV in Colorado of rescue crews saving a motorist near Jamestown.

At least three people in Colorado have been killed in flash floods that began Tuesday night during heavy rain along the Front Range. The flooding trapped motorists, cut off mountain towns, washed away homes and made roads impassable in and around the cities of Boulder, Estes Park and Lyons.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service warned of an “extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation” throughout the region. Colorado’s governor, John W. Hickenlooper, declared an emergency, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, shut down its main campus. Officials in Boulder and Larimer Counties warned residents to stay inside, or in some towns, asked residents to evacuate, as floodwaters continued to rise in some areas, making it impossible for emergency vehicles to reach those in need of help.

“This is not your ordinary disaster,” said Joe Pelle, the Boulder County sheriff, at a briefing on Thursday. “All the preparation in the world can’t put people up those canyons with walls of water coming down.”

Sheriff Joe Pelle of Boulder County delivered a briefing on what he described as a “devastating storm.”

In a video from the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, students were seen playing in the rising floodwaters late Tuesday night, with a few students using inner tubes after an underpass turned into a fast-moving stream.

Video of students at the University of Colorado, Boulder, using inner tubes in an underpass.

While Boulder County was hit the hardest, flooding was reported from Colorado Springs to north of Fort Collins, officials said, and the threat of flash floods remained throughout the day.

In Jamestown, northwest of Boulder, which was also hit hard by flooding, residents took to a message board to communicate information.

Other photos of the flooding were shared on Twitter by emergency officials, including images that showed parts of Highway 34 that washed away.