Society

More Than 200 People Missing, Four Dead in Northern Colorado Floods

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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More than 200 people are missing and four people were confirmed dead as Colorado continues to flood, authorities said.

Rainfall in Northern Colorado in the last two weeks amounts to what the area would usually see in two months. Large areas are without power and clean water. Weather forecasters predict rain for Saturday and even stronger storms Sunday.

Helicopter rescue operations have been deployed to reach those who are stranded. Many people have been trapped in their cars.

According to Patrick Von Keyserling, an emergency official in Boulder County, 218 people were unaccounted for.

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"That number will fluctuate as families start locating people and as we pick up people that have been stranded with our helicopter operation," Von Keyserling told Al Jazeera. “We will continue throughout the day as long as the weather is permitting.

Rain stopped just long enough Friday so that 162 residents in Jamestown, just north of Boulder, could be airlifted to safety. Flooding had washed out all the roads leading in and out of the town, Gawker reported.

“Many, many communities in our western mountains are completely isolated. There is no road access, no telephone information, no power, no water, no sewer”, said Sheriff Joe Pelle of Boulder County.

Rescuers worry that erosion from recent wildfires have made the area more susceptible to flooding.

“We’ve been through floods there before, but this one had a little different taste to it,” William Martin, 88, told the New York Times.

President Barack Obama sent the largest deployment of federal disaster assistance to the state this week. Thousands have been evacuted. 

"This is not going to get fixed in a week," Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a press conference. "We have lost a great deal of infrastructure."

Sources: Gawker, Al Jazeera