Colorado Gets Brief Break From Flood Warnings; Rain Is Forecast

The rains that brought severe flooding to parts of northern and central Colorado have eased, allowing people a chance to regroup before more rain comes, possibly as soon as Saturday afternoon. Thousands of residents have been displaced by the flooding, from Fort Collins in the north to Colorado Springs in the south, since waters hit dangerous levels Wednesday.

The floods have been blamed for four deaths, as the Two-Way reported Friday.

First responders are using the break to find people stranded by the waters — including one driver who told local KUSA News TV that he survived being trapped under water by finding a bubble of air in his car. The man says he remained there for about two hours before help arrived.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch from noon Saturday to late Sunday in northeast and north central Colorado.

From NPR member station KUNC, Nathan Heffel filed this report for our Newscast unit:

“Flooding continues over a wide section of northern Colorado from the Rocky Mountain foothills to towns on the western region of the eastern plains. Officials in Boulder County, one of the hardest hit, says scores of people in mountainous areas remain without water, electricity, or proper sewage facilities.

“Ben Pennymon with the Boulder Office of Emergency Management says residents need to understand this will be an ongoing event.

“Continue to be vigilant. The roads are, in a lot of places, are still impassable. So just — it’s not over yet,” Pennymon says. ‘We’re not in the clear, especially with the rain that is anticipated for this afternoon.’

“A Type 2 federal management team has been put in place to help oversee search and rescue and recovery operations in the County. Hundreds remain unaccounted for.”

Flash floods have complicated rescue efforts, after coursing rivers of water crumbled roads and filled them with debris. High water has forced the closure of parts of I-25 from the Wyoming border to Fort Collins, according to state transportation officials. That closure was still in effect early Saturday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released $5 million in emergency relief funds to aid with recovery efforts, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday night. The governor declared a disaster emergency in 14 counties earlier in the day.

In a letter detailing how to help victims recover, Hickenlooper calls the event “a 100-year flood.”

Here’s what residents were saying Friday, as reported by Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.