A home and cars are stranded after a flash flood in Coal Creek destroyed the bridge in Colorado, yesterday.
LOS ANGELES: Deadly flash floods washed away a dam and killed at least two people in the US state of Colorado yesterday, authorities said.
With driving rain lashing much of the northeastern part of the state, the National Weather Service urged residents to “move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life.”
“Stay away or be swept away,” it said, referring to river banks and low-lying spots.
Firefighters in the city of Colorado Springs recovered one body due to the flooding, spokeswoman Sunny Smaldino said. They rescued a second person stranded by the flood waters, she said.
A second death was reported in Jamestown, a small town of a couple of hundred people, just north of the city of Boulder, Gabrielle Boerkircher, a spokeswoman for the county’s emergency management division said. Officials said a building had collapsed on the person, but further details were unavailable as rescue workers were just arriving in the town.
Mudslides and rockslides blocked many of the roads with debris, hampering rescue efforts, she said.
She was unable to confirm media reports of a third death in Nederland, another town nearby.
“It’s been raining for the last three days now,” Boerkircher said, but the worst “started early in the morning on September 11 and hasn’t stopped yet.”
The Larimer County Sheriff’s office said yesterday morning on its twitter feed that the Meadow Lake Dam broke.
“The amount of water from broken Meadow Lake dam is believed to be relatively small. Trying to determine what impact might be,” it posted.
Video footage and photographs showed the region under driving rain as water coursed down roadways and washed away vehicles.
Standing water reached above the car tires in some places. The National Weather Service warned that “most flood deaths occur in automobiles,” adding “flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road.”
A mandatory evacuation order was in place for Jamestown, Boulder County’s Boerkircher said, adding that hundreds of people elsewhere in the county had voluntarily gone to shelters, including some 200 people in Lyons and around 400 people at Boulder’s University of Colorado campus.
Officials at the university said water had leaked into all the buildings, and their main concern was the library, where damage to the books could be extensive, Boerkircher said. AFP