News / USA

    Three Dead, Hundreds Evacuated in Colorado Flooding

    Overflowing St. Vrain River swamps structure and piece of heavy machinery following overnight flash flooding near Lyons, Colorado, Sept. 12, 2013.
    Overflowing St. Vrain River swamps structure and piece of heavy machinery following overnight flash flooding near Lyons, Colorado, Sept. 12, 2013.
    Reuters
    Flash flooding unleashed by torrential downpours in Colorado has killed at least three people and forced hundreds to flee to higher ground as rising water toppled buildings and stranded motorists in their cars, officials said on Thursday.
     
    Heavy rains drenched Colorado's biggest urban areas, stretching 130 miles (210 km) along the eastern slopes of the Rockies from Fort Collins near the Wyoming border south through Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs.
     
    Among the hardest-hit areas was Boulder County, where the National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning through 10 p.m. local time (0400 GMT). Flood watches were also posted for several counties in central and north-central parts of Colorado.
     
    "There is water everywhere," said Andrew Barth, the emergency management spokesman in Boulder County. "We've had several structural collapses. There's mud and muck and debris everywhere. Cars are stranded all over the place."

    Story continues below photo gallery: 
    • John Hoffenberg watches the flow of water increase in Boulder, Colorado, Sept. 15, 2013.
    • An aerial photo of a flood-affected area of northern Colorado along the Big Thompson River, Sept. 14, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard Handout photo)
    • An aerial view of vehicles submerged in flood waters along the South Platte River near Greenley, Colorado, Sept. 14, 2013.
    • Children board a rescue helicopter flown by the U.S. Air National Guard after severe flooding shut down major roads leading out of Jamestown, Colorado, Sept. 14, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard Handout photo)
    • Will Pitner is rescued by emergency workers and neighbor Jeff Writer after a night trapped outside on high ground above his home as it filled with water after days of record rain and flooding at the base of Boulder Canyon, Colorado, Sept. 13, 2013.
    • Boulder Creek flows at high speed next to a road closed off by debris from days of rain and flooding, at the base of Boulder Canyon, Colorado, Sept. 13, 2013.
    • Nick Carter shovels debris as heavy rains cause severe flooding in Boulder, Colorado, Sept. 12, 2013.
    • A home and car are stranded after a flash flood in Coal Creek destroyed the bridge near Golden, Colorado, Sept. 12, 2013. 
    • A section of Highway 72 is missing after a flash flood tore through Coal Creek near Golden, Colorado, Sept. 12, 2013. 
    • Matthew Messner looks for a way to cross the sidewalk covered by heavy rains in Boulder, Colorado, Sept. 12, 2013.

    At least six inches (15 cm) of rain has fallen on the city of Boulder and up to eight inches (20 cm) were measured in the foothills west of town, said Kari Bowen, a Weather Service meteorologist in Boulder, northwest of Denver.
     
    The rains transformed Boulder Creek, which runs through the heart of the city and the University of Colorado's Boulder campus, into a raging torrent that overran its banks and flooded adjacent parking lots and streets.
     
    Water gushed over sidewalks, roads and bike paths throughout the downtown area as sirens wailed and public-address loudspeakers urged residents to stay clear of high water: "Warning: Flash flood. Please proceed to higher ground. Do not cross standing or running water. Do not cross Boulder Creek."
     
    The university campus was closed for the day, as were Boulder-area public schools and all municipal office buildings.
     
    More than 400 students were evacuated from ground-floor campus housing overnight, campus police spokesman Ryan Huff said. Roughly 40 buildings on campus were believed to have sustained some flood-related damage, Huff said.
     
    Ron Cobbley, 49, a homeless man who had been camping along the Saint Vrain River west of Boulder near the town of Ward, said he decided to leave the woods and head into town after three days in the rain.
     
    "It was raging with whitewater," he said of the river.
     
    Extremely dangerous conditions
     
    Steady rain which began on Monday grew more intense late Tuesday and into Wednesday. Roads across the region were flooded out and standing water throughout Denver snarled morning rush-hour in the state capital.
     
    Barth, the Boulder County emergency management spokesman, said conditions were "extremely dangerous" and that up to four inches (10 cm) of additional rain was expected to fall in the area on Thursday before tapering off.
     
    All 200 residents of Jamestown, just north of Boulder, were forced to flee overnight, while the town of Lyons, further to the north, was cut off as floodwaters washed out U.S. Route 36 linking Lyons to Boulder, county Sheriff Joe Pelle said.
     
    He said Lyons had reported that its residents had no fresh running water and its sewage treatment plant had been knocked out.
     
    "We're trying desperately to get to them," Pelle said.
     
    At least two people died in flooding in Boulder County, one whose body was found in a collapsed building by emergency crews searching door to door for victims in and around Jamestown and another who drowned elsewhere in the county, Commander Heidi Prentup of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office said.
     
    The body of a third victim, a man, was found by police on flood-watch patrols in Colorado Springs, about 100 miles (160 km) to the south, officials said.
     
    Pelle said it was possible that more flood-related fatalities could emerge as emergency crews reached areas cut off by high water.
     
    Heavy rains also breached an earthen dam on Meadow Lake in a remote corner of Larimer County north of Boulder, releasing about 100 acre feet of water — roughly enough to cover an area the size of a football field in 100 feet (30.5 meters) of water, sheriff's spokeswoman Jennifer Hillman said.
     
    Nearby homeowners were warned by telephone of possible flooding but the dam release dissipated without causing major damage and no injuries were reported, she said.
     
    In Broomfield, a small town just northwest of Denver, three people were rescued from an upside-down car swept into a washed-out culvert with two other vehicles, the Boulder Emergency Management Office said.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora