Hundreds rescued by National Guard as muddy mountain floods hit Colorado

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The inundation since Wednesday has killed four people and turned towns on Colorado's expansive eastern plains into muddy swamps

Efforts to rescue hundreds of people stranded by severe mountain flooding in Colorado have been increased as food and water supplies drop worryingly low and more heavy rain is forecast for today.

National Guard choppers are still evacuating 295 people and their pets from the mountain hamlet of Jamestown, which was rendered cut off by flooding that scoured the canyon the town is situated in.

Governor John Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency for 14 counties on Friday, reaching from the Wyoming border south to Colorado Springs. The declaration authorizes $6 million in funds to pay for flood response and recovery.

Meanwhile, thousands more residents were forced to abandon their homes as the debris-filled rivers transformed into muddy seas, covering towns and farms miles from the Rockies.

National Guardsmen dropped essential supplies in Jamestown and other small towns in the winding, narrow canyons that dot the Rocky Mountain foothills to those waiting to be airlifted.

Colorado had its first broad view of the destruction caused for the first time since the devastating mountain floods began on Wednesday. The reality of what is becoming a long-term disaster is setting in and flooding has affected parts of a 4,500-square-mile area.

Mike Smith, incident commander at Boulder Municipal Airport, said helicopters would continue flying in and out late into the night.

The outlook for anyone who chooses to remain in the area is weeks without power, mobile phone service, water or sewers.

a raging waterfall destroying a bridge along Highway 34 toward Estes Park

The rush of water from higher ground has already killed four people and left 172 people still unaccounted for.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management who listed those unaccounted for following the floods stressed that while they were not yet considered missing or in danger, relatives and authorities had not been able to contact them.

Crews relied on inflatable boats to rescue families and pets from stranded farmhouses. Some evacuees on horseback had to be escorted to safe ground.

It could be months before a semblance of normality returns to Lyons, a gateway community to the park. The town, surrounded by sandstone cliffs whose colour was reflected in the raging St Vrain River, consisted of six islands as residents barbecued their food before it spoiled. Several people set up a tent camp on a hill.

Homes in residential neighborhood in Longmont, Colorado, are submerged

 

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...