LOS ANGELES: Deadly flash floods have killed at least three people in the US state of Colorado, as residents were evacuated, roads closed and a dam was breached, authorities said Thursday.
Two people were confirmed dead near Boulder, northwest of Denver, while one body was recovered from floodwaters in Colorado Springs, south of the state capital.
“We anticipate that there could be others,” Commander Heidi Prentup of the Boulder County Sheriff’s office said at a noon (1800 GMT) press briefing on the disaster.
After driving rain lashed 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.”
The rain eased somewhat Thursday morning, but Boulder City spokeswoman Sarah Huntley warned residents to remain on alert.
“It might seem that the threat is abating. That is not actually the case. The risk is still very real,” she told reporters, adding: “There are big walls of water.”
Firefighters in 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.
Meanwhile residents of the small town of Jamestown, just outside the city of Boulder, were ordered to evacuate. “We have two confirmed” dead, Prentup told reporters, adding that helicopters could not get into the area because of the continuing rain.
Officials said a building had collapsed on one of the victims, 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, said Gabrielle Boerkircher, a spokeswoman for Boulder County’s emergency management division.
“It’s been raining for the last three days now,” said Boerkircher, adding that the worst “started early in the morning on September 11 and hasn’t stopped yet.”
The Larimer County Sheriff’s office said 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. (AFP)