Thursday 14 December 2017

Rainfall hampers flood rescue efforts in Colorado

A section of highway is washed away by the flooded South Platte River in Colorado
A section of highway is washed away by the flooded South Platte River in Colorado
Residents are evacuated from Jamestown
A house destroyed by the flooding

Hannah Dreier Boulder, Colorado

The search for people stranded from the Rocky Mountain foothills to the plains of northeastern Colorado is growing more difficult, with a new wave of rain threatening to hamper airlifts from the flooded areas still out of reach.

Numerous pockets of individuals remained cut off from help even with more than 1,750 people and 300 pets already rescued from homes swamped by rivers and streams overflowing from unrelenting rain last week, officials said.

Twenty military helicopters planned to expand the search from Boulder County east to Fort Morgan, but the window of opportunity was closing with up to two inches of rain expected to fall.

"It will affect our air operations if it keeps raining," Colorado National Guard Lt James Goff said yesterday.

"We'll look at ground operations of any other courses of action."

The additional rain falling on ground that has been saturated by water since Wednesday created the risk of more flash flooding and mud slides.

An 80-year-old woman was missing and presumed dead after her home was washed away by the flooding Big Thompson River. That is the same area where a 60-year-old woman is presumed dead after the river destroyed her home.

The number of confirmed flood fatalities stood at four but was expected to rise.

Hundreds of people remained unaccounted for, though most are likely just stranded, officials said.

The last two days have seen dramatic rescues of trapped residents as helicopters hoisted them above the floodwaters.

Irish Independent

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