Flooding caused by heavy rains in Loveland, Colo., has left the city still recovering from a rising Big Thompson River that virtually split the area in two.
As it swelled, the river eroded the ground adjacent to Loveland’s main water line, but authorities are saying the city’s water, wastewater, and transmission lines remain fully operational, according to Fox 31 in Denver.
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Members of the National Guard were stranded near Lyons until flooding receded enough for them to drive to safety, CNN reported
. Army helicopters were used to rescue civilians and first responders during a lull in the bad weather Sunday. But before the operation ended, the weather turned bad again, grounding the helicopters and leaving National Guard troops and other emergency workers to wait it out on high ground. Fifteen rescuers spent the night on high ground, the Colorado National Guard said.
Army and National Guard personnel using helicopters had rescued more than 700 people as of Saturday night, according to a National Guard official, and more than 2,100 people and more than 500 pets had been rescued by air and ground by late Sunday. National Guard Lt. Col. Mitch Utterback told CNN that the air efforts may be the largest such evacuation since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Four deaths have been confirmed because of the storms and two others are missing and presumed dead. Nearly 18,000 homes have been damaged and some 1,500 destroyed.
The presumed dead include a 60-year-old woman and an 80-year-old man in Larimer County. The confirmed dead include a man and a woman, both 19, who were swept away after leaving their car Thursday in Boulder County.
CNN reporter Erich Toll described the damage as surreal:
“I have never seen anything like it,” he said on Sunday. “There are raging rivers in many places where there have never been rivers – or even water – before. There are huge swaths of boulder fields where there used to be parks.”
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