The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

September 12, 2013

1 dead as flash flooding hits parts of Colo.

DENVER (AP) — Flash flooding in Colorado's Boulder County has left one person dead and the widespread high waters are keeping search and rescue teams from reaching stranded residents and motorists in Boulder and nearby mountain communities, as heavy rains hammered northern Colorado on Thursday.

Boulder Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Gabrielle Boerkircher said volunteers are trying to help stranded people until emergency crews can arrive because many roads are impassable.

Boerkircher told The Associated Press that one person was killed when a structure collapsed in Jamestown. She said no details were available on the collapsed building.

"We're trying to get to Jamestown. A lot of towns need assistance, and we cannot get through," she said.

Many roads were closed because of flooding and debris. Coal Creek Canyon northwest of Denver was closed because of a washed-out highway.

The Larimer County office of emergency information said an earthen dam in the Big Elk Meadows area southeast of Estes Park gave way and residents of Pinewood Springs and Blue Mountain were ordered to be ready to evacuate.

Residents of the Big Elk Meadows area were told by a recorded message they "should be seeking higher ground immediately."

Capt. John Burt of the Colorado State Patrol said damage was being reported in four counties, including Boulder, Larimer and Jefferson northwest of Denver and El Paso County around Colorado Springs.

Burt said a heavy storm cell moved through during the night, dumping heavy amounts of rain, spread east causing flooding on the Eastern Plains, then turned around and headed back.

"It's a different weather cell than we have seen in the past," he said.

Rainfall in recent days that dramatically increased on Wednesday caused the flash flooding that also triggered mudslides and prompted evacuations. The Weather Service said early Thursday that more than four inches of rain had fallen in some areas since noon Wednesday.

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