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'Biblical' Flooding Rages In Colorado

Patrick Tinsley and Mary Kerns walk from their mountain community, Magnolia, where road access is shut off by debris. Flash flooding in Colorado has left at least three people reportedly dead and the widespread high waters have hampered emergency workers' access to affected communities as heavy rains hammered northern Colorado. (AP)closemore
Patrick Tinsley and Mary Kerns walk from their mountain community, Magnolia, where road access is shut off by debris. Flash flooding in Colorado has left at least three people reportedly dead and the widespread high waters have hampered emergency workers' access to affected communities as heavy rains hammered northern Colorado. (AP)

"As heavy rains brought wide ranging flood conditions across the state Thursday, the Front Range is bracing for more Friday," our colleagues at Northern Colorado's KUNC report.

They add that:

Boulder Creek flooded early Thursday after three days of heavy rainfall. An estimated 6-10 inches of rain fell in 12-18 hours, and more is expected throughout the day. Flash flood sirens warned people to stay away from Boulder Creek and seek higher ground. (Getty Images)
Boulder Creek flooded early Thursday after three days of heavy rainfall. An estimated 6-10 inches of rain fell in 12-18 hours, and more is expected throughout the day. Flash flood sirens warned people to stay away from Boulder Creek and seek higher ground. (Getty Images)

"The National Weather Service had described the water levels as 'biblical' Thursday. Reporter Luke Runyon noted on Twitter that it was an appropriate adjective given the state's recent run of drought and wildfires.

"State wide, the flooding has killed three — one in Jamestown when a structure collapsed, another in Colorado Springs, and the third in Boulder — where a woman is also missing."

The station is using Storify to follow the "torrential rains" and flooding.

A section of Highway 72 is missing after a flash flood tore through Coal Creek near Golden, Colo., on Thursday.  (Reuters/Landov)
A section of Highway 72 is missing after a flash flood tore through Coal Creek near Golden, Colo., on Thursday. (Reuters/Landov)

Update at 6:15 p.m. ET. Four Dead:

The number of people who were killed as a result of the floods rose to four, Friday afternoon.

Reuters reports that Mike Banuelos, a spokesman for the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center, said search and rescue teams recovered the body of a woman who was swept away by the floodwaters near Boulder.

Update at 1:05 p.m. ET. Blue Sky Sighted, But Warnings Continue:

The CU-Boulder Police have posted an encouraging photo of blue skies over the city earlier in the day.

Mountain View Fire Rescue firefighters Jamie Wood and Steve Knoll walk through a flooded street after doing a welfare check of a flooded property in Erie, Colo. (AP)
Mountain View Fire Rescue firefighters Jamie Wood and Steve Knoll walk through a flooded street after doing a welfare check of a flooded property in Erie, Colo. (AP)

But authorities are not declaring that the crisis is over.

KUNC reports that Police Chief Mark Beckner told reporters "I would call it a 35 year event. ... Because in my 35 years, we've never had anything this significant."

The station adds that:

Nicky Toor is pulled by his dog, Chaco, down a flooded street in Boulder.  (Getty Images)
Nicky Toor is pulled by his dog, Chaco, down a flooded street in Boulder. (Getty Images)

"Because of numerous road closures, travel in or around the city of Boulder is not advised. 'We're asking people not to come to Boulder unless it's necessary,' said Beckner. 'The reason for that is if you get here, you might not get back out. Most roads are closed, U.S. 36 is closed eastbound, you cannot get out of boulder if you get here.' "

Also, The Denver Post's latest headline is ominous:

"Colorado floods: Evacuations, road closures create havoc for Fort Collins, Boulder, Jefferson County."

Jake Bennett uses sandbags and plywood to help funnel water down a street in Boulder. (Reuters/Landov)
Jake Bennett uses sandbags and plywood to help funnel water down a street in Boulder. (Reuters/Landov)

The Post writes that "the first glimpses of blue sky in days emerged over parts of the Front Range on Friday, but pounding rain continued to raise fears of new rounds of flooding. ... Thousands of people remained evacuated throughout the region, and National Guard troops joined emergency crews trying to reach those in stranded communities."

From our original post:

The Denver Post began its coverage Friday this way:

John Shada takes a photo as a geyser of floodwater shoots out of a sewer in Manitou Springs.  (MCT/Landov)
John Shada takes a photo as a geyser of floodwater shoots out of a sewer in Manitou Springs. (MCT/Landov)

"Drop by drop by drop, historic rainfall across a 150-mile expanse of Colorado's Front Range turned neighborhood streams into rampaging torrents that claimed at least three lives and continued to flood homes and destroy roads into the night.

"Heavy rain returned to the region Thursday evening, threatening an equally disastrous Friday."

The National Weather Service's "watches, warnings or advisories for Colorado" are collected here. The agency adds:

Will Pitner is rescued by emergency workers and neighbor Jeff Writer on Friday, after a night sheltering on high ground above his home as it filled with water from a surge at the base of Boulder Canyon, Colo. (AP)
Will Pitner is rescued by emergency workers and neighbor Jeff Writer on Friday, after a night sheltering on high ground above his home as it filled with water from a surge at the base of Boulder Canyon, Colo. (AP)

While "moderate to heavy rain will begin to taper off from the south through the day ... due to saturated soils and swollen rivers flooding [is] still possible."

Copyright NPR 2016.

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