Flood Waters Create Havoc In Colorado’s Foot Hills
Thousands of residents on Colorado’s foothills and Front Range have been driven from their homes after flood waters cascaded downstream from the Rockies, stranding hikers and residents in rural communities slammed by days of steady rain. Meanwhile, more storms caused flooding in southern and eastern portions of the Denver metro area yesterday afternoon, as officials reported that at least 4 deaths are confirmed and more than 500 people are unaccounted for. National Guard helicopters and truck convoys headed into areas where thousands of stranded residents were ready to leave their flooding communities. By Saturday night, 1,750 people had been evacuated from Boulder and Larimer County. The airlifts will continue today with helicopter crews expanding their searches east to include Longmont, Fort Collins and Weld County. It is not clear how many people are still stranded. The flooding has affected an area of almost a 5,000-square-miles.
Near Greeley, miles of farmland has become lakes, and hundreds of roads were closed or damaged by flood waters. A 70-mile stretch of Interstate 25 was closed from Denver to the Wyoming line. Rocky Mountain National Park closed Friday, its visitors forced to leave via the 60-mile Trail Ridge Road to the west side of the Rockies.
As of Saturday night, more than 1,200 people have been rescued by the national guard and active duty military forces from Fort Carson. The national guard evacuated more than 500 people using high water clearance vehicles from Lyons.
Yesterday the problems were compounded as thunderstorms hit hard over parts of the Front Range, dumping piles of hail and causing flash flooding the Denver area. Up to 3 inches of rain fell in less than an hour from Castle Rock to Parker and Aurora. Pea to marble sized hail came in such huge amounts that storm drains were clogged, making several roads impassable. Emergency officials said they expect more injuries and fatalities as they continue to search the flood waters.
As the flood waters rush downstream additional communities are on alert. In Fort Morgan, Police have begun evacuations as rising flood waters from the South Platte River approach. Fort Morgan City officials do not believe that river flooding will affect the major portion of the City, but businesses and residents in low-lying areas along the river on the north side of the city are being advised to prepare for evacuation if that becomes necessary. Photo: courtesy Fox News.
Latest Traffic Advisories For Flooded Areas
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is advising motorists to exercise extra caution when traveling across the northern Front Range and points east since some highways may appear structurally sound but may have been damaged by water, rocks, or debris. In addition to driving carefully, motorists should not pull over to view flood damage or water flows because it creates a safety hazard on the highways.
Motorists also are reminded that the route that opened to Estes Park Friday night is only for emergency personnel, Estes Park residents, delivery vehicles, and other essential visitors. CDOT is enforcing checkpoints at varying locations to ensure only those with critical missions can enter and exit the town until more permanent repairs can be made. Rocky Mountain National Park remains closed to tourists.
Many highways and bridges remain closed until further notice as a precaution until crews can evaluate whether or not they are safe for travel.
Status of State Highways:
- I-25 between U.S. 34 & WyomingState Line
- U.S. 85 between Denver area & Wyoming State Line
- State Highway (SH)83 – Parker Road between Florida & Jewell avenues
- SH 392 between I-25 (CR 5) & 17th Street in Windsor
- U.S. 34 between Granby & EstesPark (Trail Ridge Road) – Essential travel only
- I-25 northbound /southbound ramps to State Highway 119 open – travel only allowed east of interchange due to SH 119 closure west of I-25
- U.S. 34 between Greeley & Wiggins
- U.S. 40 at Floyd Hill
- SH 30 (Havana Street) atAlameda Avenue
- SH 144 between U.S. 34 & CR 13
- SH 39 between I-76 in Wiggins & Goodrich
ONGOING CLOSURES/NORTHERN COLORADO
- SH 119 between County Line Road & I-25
- SH 119 between Boulder & Nederland (BoulderCanyon)
- SH 170 between SH 93 & EldoradoCanyonState Park
- U.S. 34 between GladeRoad & EstesPark
- U.S. 36 between Boulder & EstesPark
- U.S. 34 between mile 114 (east of Greeley) & Wiggins (I-76)
- U.S. 287 at Big Thompson River in Loveland between SH 402 & 5th Street
- U.S. 287 between MP 307 (Isabella) & MP 310 (SH 52)
- SH 7 between Lyons & EstesPark
- SH 14 between Ted’s Place & Walden
- SH 60 at CR 46
- SH 66 between 53rd Street (Longmont) & Lyons
- SH 66 between CR 13 & CR 19
- SH 257 between SH 60/Milliken & U.S. 34
DENVER AREA CLOSURES
- I-70 eastbound off-ramp to Quebec Street
- SH 72 (Indiana Street) between 72nd & 80th avenues
- SH 72 between SH 93 & SH 119 (CoalCreekCanyon)
Please note that the above listed closures are only for state highways; additional road and bridge closures should be expected in cities, counties, and towns.
Currently CDOT’s www.cotrip.org website is experiencing technical difficulties. Motorists can call 511, visithttp://www.coloradodot.info/travel/colorado-flood-highway-updates, or download the CDOT Mobile app. For a list of current closures, please visit the CDOT Facebook page “Notes” section at www.facebook.com/coloradodot.
In high school sports this weekend:
Hayden topped Rocky Mountain Lutheran (48-6).
Rangely lost to Nucla (58-0).
Moffat County fell to Steamboat (57-15).
Little Snake River Valley fell to Meeteetse 57-8
Soroco beat Plateau Valley 53-6.
Soroco lost to Beth Eden (3-0).
Little Snake River Valley defeated Encampment (3-0).
Moffat County beat Basalt 3-0.
Steamboat beat Summit 3-1.
Little Snake River Valley defeated Guernsey 2-0.