Over 1,000 People Missing as Flooding in Colorado Continues
As rain and flooding continue in Colorado, the number of missing people has climbed to well over 1,000.
At least four fatalities have been confirmed since the rain started on Wednesday, with two more suspected dead. That toll could easily rise as more people find themselves trapped in homes or in their cars, as water begins to rise or mud begins to flow.
Around 1,500 homes have been destroyed and more than 17,000 have been damaged as flood water, mud slides and rock slides have pummeled the Boulder, Colorado area.
Continuing rains have made recovery efforts difficult at best. "Mother Nature is not cooperating with us today, and currently we are not flying. But tomorrow if we get that window of opportunity, which is sounds like we might get, we have the horsepower to hit it hard," incident commander Shane Del Grosso said.
Heavy rains and clouds have made helicopter rescues nearly impossible and left many rescue crews grounded on Sunday. Officials are hoping to have their fleet of about 16 rescue helicopters back in the air by Monday. According to emergency officials, about 1,000 people were waiting to be evacuated from their homes.
On Monday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper plans to meet with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate to discuss the impact of the flooding on the state. Rescue efforts will get a boost from two 80-person search and rescue teams who will also spring into action this week.
Rescue efforts are just the beginning. Even after the rain stops and the flood waters recede, the Boulder County area will have a long way to go when it comes to recovering from this natural disaster. Based on current estimates it will take more than $150 million to clean up the mess the flood has left behind. Around 20 to 30 bridges have been destroyed, and many roads have been rendered unusable.