BOULDER, Colo. — Widespread flooding that's already killed three Coloradans forced fresh evacuations of thousands of residents Friday, as additional rainfall threatened already swollen rivers and creeks along a 150-mile stretch of the state's Front Range.
About 15 miles north of Boulder, the Colorado National Guard began evacuating up to 2,500 residents of Lyons — isolated, without power and running water because of flooded roads Thursday — at daybreak, according to the Boulder County sheriff's office. In South Boulder County, 500 residents in Eldorado Springs were also under evacuation orders. County emergency personnel said the Guard was using high-clearance trucks to move Lyons residents to safe areas.
"There's no way out of town. There's no way into town. So, basically, now we're just on an island," said Jason Stillman, 37, who was forced with his fiancee to evacuate their home in Lyons after a nearby river began to overflow into the street.
The National Weather Service had a flood warning for Boulder County through early Friday morning. Flood warnings were also issued for the city of Loveland and Big Thompson Canyon, site of the July 1976 flood that killed 143 people. The Big Thompson River was reported over four feet above its flood stage.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the state has lost "a great deal of infrastructure,'' although an exact assessment over flood damage could take weeks.
Hickenlooper urged residents near flood areas to remain "exceptionally careful" and stay away from swollen streams and rivers. "People try to walk through what looks like a harmless foot or two of water. You have to realize this is like liquid cement and you can be swept away."
In Boulder, officials issued emergency alerts to 8,000 residents along normally tranquil Boulder Creek, urging them to seek shelter elsewhere or move to higher ground. About 4,000 residents along Boulder Canyon faced mandatory evacuation. Officials fear mud and rocks accumulating in Boulder Canyon will clog and cause a sudden surge in water downstream.
Credit to USA Today