Sunday 17 December 2017

Four dead after 'biblical' flash floods hit Colorado

Nick Allen

Four people have died and scores are unaccounted for following "biblical" flooding in Colorado, where walls of water 20ft high toppled buildings, ripped up roads, washed away bridges and left towns cut off like islands.

Thousands of people were evacuated by rescue workers using boats and helicopters as flash floods swept through canyons and inundated farmland.

Cars were washed off one highway and aerial footage showed large stretches of land covered in brown water, with many homes half-submerged. Towns on the state's expansive eastern plains turned into muddy swamps and farmers moved to high ground on their tractors.

Among the worst hit areas was Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, as water from unusually heavy late summer rains poured down mountains.

Boulder Creek, which runs through the heart of the town, became a raging torrent that burst its banks, leading to the evacuation of 4,000 people.

The National Weather Service said "biblical rainfall amounts" of at least 14.7 inches had fallen on Boulder so far this month.

The dead included a couple who were swept away after stopping their car. Another victim was found in a collapsed building.

Local sheriff Joe Pelle said: "This is not an ordinary day. It is not an ordinary disaster."

Deluge: Flood scenes in Boulder, Colorado
Deluge: Flood scenes in Boulder, Colorado

Lyons, a town north of Boulder, was virtually cut off when floodwaters washed over Route 36, stranding residents without water and power for 48 hours.

Residents waiting to be evacuated set up a tent camp on a hill and barbecued their food before it spoiled.

The National Guard rumbled into Lyons through waist-high water and went door-to-door to pull out 2,000 trapped people. Officials said that 172 people were unaccounted for and stressed that while they were not yet considered missing or in danger, relatives had not been able to contact them.

The flooding was the worst in Colorado since nearly 150 people were killed in a flash flood in 1976.

© Telegraph

Sunday Independent

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