The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

September 16, 2013

Floods transform Colorado

(Continued)

LYONS, Colo. —

Martin grew up tubing down the river and hiking the mountains, and like many residents, he still jumps in the water after work. Looking into the cottonwood and aspen trees at the outskirts of town, he wondered when he would be able to do those things again.

“Best case, it’s just mud everywhere; in everyone’s yard and all the streets,” he said.

From the mountain communities east to the plains city of Fort Morgan, numerous pockets of individuals remained cut off by the flooding. Sunday’s rain hampered the helicopter searches, and rescuers trekked by ground up dangerous canyon roads to reach some of those homes isolated since Wednesday.

The surging waters have been deadly, with four people confirmed dead and two more missing and presumed dead after their homes were swept away.

Hundreds of people have still not been heard from, but with phone service being restored to some of the areas over the weekend, officials hoped that number would drop as they contacted more stranded people.

In Estes Park, some 20 miles from Lyons, hundreds of homes and cabins were empty. High water still covered several low-lying streets. Where the river had receded, it had left behind up to a foot of mud.

Ironically, the massive Estes Ark — a three-story former toy store designed to look like Noah’s Ark — was high and dry.

“I don’t know if it’s open anymore, but soon it’s going to be our only way out,” joked Carly Blankfein.

Supplies of gas and groceries had been running low until Route 7 was recently reopened. On Sunday, people were lined up at the one gas station where a tanker had arrived.

At the Aspen and Evergreen Gallery along the town’s main street next to the Big Thompson River, owner Tamara Jarolimek was clearing out the shop Sunday in fear that the new wave of rain would cause another surge.

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