December 7, 2013
Fifth fatality feared in Colorado floods as towns evacuated
Colorado farming communities along the South Platte River were ordered to evacuate ahead of a predicted surge in the flooding, which may have claimed a fifth life and has left many still unaccounted for, authorities said.
Four deaths have already been confirmed and, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office said in a Tweet, "a 60-year-old woman from Cedar Grove ... is missing and presumed dead."
About 200 people in eastern Colorado were unaccounted for, although authorities said some of those residents might be stranded or cut off from communication in the region's worst flooding in decades.
More heavy rain was expected as search-and-rescue teams used boats and helicopters to pull stranded residents to safety as flash flood waters toppled buildings, washed out roads and bridges and inundated farmland.
"Given the destruction, there is a high probability" of more fatalities, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said at a media briefing.
Two small farming communities in eastern Colorado were under evacuation orders as a surge from the flooding was headed in their direction on the plains, the Colorado Office of Emergency Management said on Twitter.
"The town of Orchard is in immediate danger. EVACUATE NOW," it said. "The town of Goodrich is under an evacuation order."
The flooding began overnight Wednesday. It was triggered by unusually heavy late-summer storms that soaked Colorado's biggest urban centers, from Fort Collins near the Wyoming border south through Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs.
Boulder and towns along the Front Range of the Rockies north of Denver were especially hard hit as water poured down rain-soaked mountains and rushed through canyons that funneled the runoff into populated areas.
The National Weather Service in Boulder warned of scattered showers and thunderstorms later on Saturday and into Sunday that could trigger more flash flooding.