At least four people are dead and an estimated 80 more are missing amid the destruction created by days of rain that has saturated rivers and lakes in Colorado this week.
On Thursday morning, a normally dry creek outside of Broomfield, Co. filled with enough rushing water to cause a section of roadway to collapse, tossing three vehicles into the creek below. All three drivers were recovered safely.
Others have not been so lucky as flash floods have washed out roads and pushed dams beyond their limits. Thousands of people have been evacuated across the region. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been inundated with water across major urban areas like Longmont, Boulder and Lyons, which was evacuated by the National Guard on Friday.
Emergency workers have been admirably quick to respond across the estimated 150 mile stretch of impacted area, although their rescue efforts have been frustratingly hampered in some cases due to rushing waters filled with debris. Two mountaineers were trapped below Longs Peak on Friday in icy conditions but flooding also hampered their rescue.
North of Boulder in Loveland, major interstate Highway 25 was shut down for a 70-mile stretch to the Wyoming border as the Big Thompson river washed over the roadway.The river, combined with other tributaries, is responsible for the flooding of Estes Park, Colorado's gateway to the popular Rocky Mountain National Park. The river also flooded and partially washed out the major roadway through to Estes from Loveland, Highway 34. Loveland has also been hit hard by flooding from the river.
Thankfully, forecasters are calling for an end to the current weather patterns and while rain may appear across the state over the next few days, the unforgiving downpours of the week should end. Coloradans will hopefully start clean-up and recovery soon, much of which will take a very long time and a lot of resources.