Major Flooding Kills Five in Boulder, Colo.

By Courtney Spamer, Meteorologist
September 14, 2013; 2:59 PM ET
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Four people are reported dead after heavy rain Wednesday led to significant flooding in the Boulder, Colo., area.

On Thursday afternoon, Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam issued a local disaster and emergency declaration as massive flooding continued throughout the city, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he approved a disaster declaration and he would seek an emergency declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for search-and-rescue and emergency protective actions.

Friday morning, President Obama declared a flood disaster for the city.

Every road to the western mountains in the county are inaccessible and those who resident in that area still have no water, septic or sewage, according to the emergency management office.

On Friday afternoon the 'Foothills Flood Relief Fund' was established in order to respond to the effects of these storms, provide relief and long-term recovery to Boulder and Broomfield Counties.

As of Friday evening, at least 80 people are unaccounted for throughout the community, according to the city's emergency management office.

While Louisville's Fireside elementary school at Cal-Wood is still inaccessible, all of the school's fifth-grade students have been accounted for and will soon be transported out by helicopter.

While roads remain unnavigable rescue teams are using four helicopters to provide aid, begin search and rescue missions and evacuate those with medical conditions.

The Colorado National Guard assisted in airlifting nearly 300 residents from Jamestown Friday evening.

A meeting will commence Saturday with incident management teams to bring in more resources.

Local residents look over a road washed out by a torrent of water following overnight flash flooding near Left Hand Canyon, south of Lyons, Colo., Thursday, Sept 12, 2013. The widespread high waters are keeping search and rescue teams from reaching stranded residents in Lyons and nearby mountain communities as heavy rains hammered northern Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Rain began early in the morning on Wednesday and continued throughout the day, becoming heavy in the evening and dumping as much as 1 inch of rain per hour.

Torrential downpours brought somewhere between 5 and 10 inches of rain across the area. Excess flooding even broke Pinewood Springs Dam, sending rushing water into the city of Lyons.

At least one person was killed in a collapsed home due to the flooding. Another life was taken on the 200 block of Linden in Boulder, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. A third person was found dead in Fountain Creek, Colorado Springs police said.

Highway 66 was under water driving into Lyons, and Highway 7 was also shut down.

Roadways were reported as impassable in the city of Boulder's Office of Emergency Management.

Colorado Weather Radar
PHOTOS: Boulder, Colo., Under Water After Flooding Rain
Boulder Weather

Colorado University's Boulder Campus closed for Thursday and Friday "due to effects of severe flooding and the ongoing weather emergency," according to the school's website.

Boulder's Emergency Management spokeswoman, Gabrielle Boerkircher, told The Associated Press that about 400 students were evacuated.

High water levels flow down Boulder Creek following overnight flash flooding in downtown Boulder, Colo., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. 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. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

The extent of damage on the campus has yet to be determined, but about 40 percent of the buildings do have water damage.

Boulder Valley School District also closed school for Thursday.

Emergency managers also reported multiple home collapses in the Jamestown area. Due to the flooding and mudslides, multiple roads were being cut off. Jamestown has been evacuated.

The city of Boulder's Emergency Management office reports that rescue teams are ready to go, armed with seven three-person vehicles that are able to go through deep water, whenever conditions become safe and possible to enter.

The office also reports that search and rescue helicopters are ready and on standby, waiting until conditions become more stable.

A public health advisory was issued by the emergency management office at 10:30 a.m. MDT on Thursday, advising Lyons residents to use boiled or bottled drinking water as water may contain sewage and other contaminants.

Later Thursday afternoon, the surge of water along Fourmile Creek increased drastically and residents down stream were urged to seek higher ground immediately.

Call centers in Boulder and Longmont have opened to take calls from those impacted by the flood.

Evacuation centers are also open in Boulder, Longmont, Jamestown, Lyons and Nederland. Those evacuating with pets can take their pets to the Boulder and Longmont Humane Society branches.

Friday, the city's emergency management office declared that the nearby Niwot Sanitation District was at capacity and urged all residents to stay away from all flood water due to likelihood that the water contains sewage, bacteria and debris.

As of 4p.m. MDT the city of Boulder declared that all city water, storm-water and wastewater facilities were up and running. However, the Left Hand Water District issued a boil water advisory, asking all residents under the district's jurisdiction to use boiled or bottled water.

While waters have begun receding, according to the emergency management office, people in the mountains still await help.


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