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More than a thousand people still unaccounted for after Colorado floods

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The number of people unaccounted for in Colorado after historic flooding rose to 1,254 as flooding spread to 15 counties and rain continued to fall. Those unaccounted for are those that have become unreachable by telephone from family members. Families are encouraged not to give up hope - "We don't expect to find 1,254 fatalities," Micki Trost, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - To date, there have been five confirmed fatalities. There are reports of four in Boulder County and one in El Paso County since the rain began on Wednesday of last week. The number of fatalities could rise.

An elderly woman in presumed dead in Larimer County's Cedar Grove after her home was washed away by the flooding Big Thompson River. The 80-year-old woman was unable to leave her home Friday night, sheriff's spokesman John Schulz said. A second Larimer County 60-year-old woman is also presumed dead after the river destroyed her home the same night.

A staggering 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 have been damaged, according to an initial estimate by officials.

Many roads and bridges in the state are damaged or destroyed, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation. Crews are estimating the extent of the damage, which will cost "hundreds of millions" of dollars to repair, she said.

The actual number of roads damaged or destroyed is unknown. Sections of three U.S. highways - 34, 36 and 72 - and various mountain roads are heavily damaged. Thirty highway bridges are destroyed, 20 are seriously damaged, and transportation officials suspect 20 others are damaged.

Long-time Boulder resident Tom Kahn surveying the damage said "It's very sad." A  Realtor who has lived in Boulder since 1967, he added, "Our beautiful Boulder is hammered. Mother Nature wins." Four Mile Canyon, one of several canyons where people live outside of Boulder, is "a total wipe-out . Life goes on, but it's so heartbreaking."

Flooded basements are the chief concern for homeowners here. "I have not seen as much rain in the 55 years I have lived in Boulder," a resident who owns apartments in the city.

a major street in Boulder, Baseline, earlier last week, was "a torrential river," and Boulder Canyon, the big canyon leading into and out of the city, is "a disaster."

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