Loveland flooding eases as Colorado rescue efforts continue
Loveland flooding: Colorado counties reported some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 damaged by flooding. Rescuers are reaching more pockets of stranded residents in Loveland and other Colorado cities.
Estes Park, Colo.
Colorado mountain towns cut off for days by massive flooding slowly reopened to reveal cabins toppled, homes ripped from their foundations and everything covered in a thick layer of muck. Anxious home and business owners hurriedly cleaned and cleared what they could salvage as rescuers looked for a break in the weather Monday to resume airlifting those still stranded.Skip to next paragraph
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Crews plowed up to a foot of mud left standing along Estes Park's main street after the river coursed through the heart of town late last week.
"I hope I have enough flood insurance," said Amy Hamrick, whose friends helped her pull up flooring and clear water and mud from the crawl space at her coffee shop. Her inventory was safely stashed at her home on higher grounds, she said.
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Emergency officials offered a first glimpse at the scope of the damage. Counties reported some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 damaged, according to an initial estimate released Sunday by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.
State emergency officials reported more than 1,200 people total had not been heard from, but that number already was dropping Monday as Larimer County said it had made contact with hundreds of people previously unaccounted for.
With rescuers reaching more pockets of stranded residents and phone service being restored in some areas, officials expect that number will continue to decrease.
"You're got to remember, a lot of these folks lost cellphones, landlines, the Internet four to five days ago," Gov. John Hickenlooper said on NBC's "Today" show. "I am very hopeful that the vast majority of these people are safe and sound."
The death toll remained at four confirmed fatalities and two missing and presumed dead.
The Loveland Disaster Recovery Center at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, the former Agilent Technologies campus, opened at 10 a.m. to accept limited donations for use by flood evacuees. Donors are asked to restrict their gifts to non-perishable foods, toiletries, gift cards, bottled water and sports drinks, 9News.com reports.
Loveland has not been placed under any boiling restrictions, but city officials say it’s important to conserve water and to turn off all irrigation systems, reports KDVR.com
Helicopter searches and airlifts have resumed as the weather cleared and the sun shone over flood-damaged mountain towns.
Ten military helicopters took off from Boulder Municipal Airport late Monday morning after being grounded most of the morning because of rain and clouds.
Colorado National Guard Lt. James Goff says 19 helicopters are available for search-and-rescue operations
On Sunday, military helicopters rescued 12 people before the rain forced the operations to stop and 80 more people were evacuated by ground, Colorado National Guard Lt. James Goff said.