Boulder flooding turned deadly today, as at least three people have been reported killed by heavy rains and swollen floodwaters that have inundated Colorado’s Front Range, from Colorado Springs to north of Fort Collins.
The Associated Press reported on Sept. 12 that “scarring from recent wildfires sent walls of water crashing down mountainsides” this week, forcing hundreds to evacuate and classes to be cancelled at the University of Colorado.
Six inches of rain fell in the Boulder, Co. region over 12 hours, causing rapid flooding in conjunction with rock and mudslides in low level areas and creating what the national Weather Service said was a “extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation.”
“Move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life.” --National Weather Service’s automated warning.
Boulder Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Gabrielle Boerkircher said blocked roads are making it difficult for emergency personnel to respond to those stranded. Reports say individuals are stuck in upper levels of homes, commercial buildings and even trees.
“A lot of towns need assistance, and we cannot get through,” Boerkircher lamented.
Three bodies have been found thus far. Two were trapped in collapsed structures in small towns north of Boulder. Flood patrols found a third body in Fountain Creek, west of Boulder.
Along U.S. Highway 287, three vehicles were dropped into flooded waters when a culvert gave way. All were rescued and only sustained minor injuries.
The National Guard has been called in to provide air rescue to some areas where officials cannot get to by vehicles, but Guard choppers have mostly been grounded because of severe fog.