8 Confirmed Dead, 1,600 Homes Destroyed in Colorado Floods
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Search-and-rescue teams bolstered by National Guard troops fanned out across Colorado's flood-stricken landscape on Monday, as a week of torrential rains blamed for eight deaths and the destruction of at least 1,600 homes finally gave way to sunny skies.
Much of the evacuation effort was focused on remote foothill and canyon communities in north-central Colorado, where the bulk of nearly 12,000 people evacuated since last week were stranded due to washed-out roads, bridges and communication lines, state emergency officials said.
The overall flood zone has encompassed 17 Colorado counties across a normally semi-arid region nearly the size of Delaware, Reuters reported.
Drizzle and morning fog that had hampered airborne emergency operations early on Monday lifted by afternoon, allowing National Guard helicopters to return to the skies to help ground teams find trapped flood victims and carry them to safety.
In Boulder County alone, about 1,500 people had been evacuated to emergency shelters as of Sunday night and another 160 on Monday, most of them by helicopter, county emergency management office spokeswoman Liz Donaghey said.
The last multi-day rainfall to spawn widespread flooding in Colorado's Front Range occurred in 1969. But a single-night downpour from a 1976 thunderstorm triggered a flash flood that killed more than 140 people in Big Thompson Canyon.