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Colorado Town Flooded and Evacuated by National Guard
Boulder has been evacuated. Flooding across the city has killed three Coloradans and has forced thousands of residents form their homes today. Rainfall is swelling the rivers and creeks along 150 miles of the States Front Range, according to USA today. 15 miles north of Boulder, the National Guard evacuated 2000 people out of the town of Lyons that were isolated and without power or running water due to the floods. 500 residents of Eldorado Springs were also ordered to evacuate. Emergency personnel noted that the National Guard was using “high-clearance” trucks to move Lyons residents to safe areas.
A resident commented that people were just stuck and trapped without a way in or out. “Basically, now we’re just on an island.” 37 year old Jason Stillman was forced with his fiancé to leave their home after their street was over flooded in Lyons. Nearby, the main north to south highway in Colorado, which is north of Denver at the Wyoming border, the I-25, was also closed due to rising water.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Boulder County as well as the city of Loveland and Big Thompson Canyon, which was where 143 people died in a previous flood several decades ago. The NWS forecasts more rain upto three inches and they say that a low pressure system is moving over the Rockies combined with high humidity. Ultimately more water in a situation with a lot of flooding doesn’t bode well.
In Boulder, emergency alerts have officially been issued to 8000 residents. People have been urged to move to higher ground or to otherwise seek shelter from the rising waters. 4000 residents faced a mandatory evacuation. This flood was a 1 in 100 year event, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The riskiest places to be, according to weather historian Christopher Burt, would be nearest in proximity to Boulder Creek. The Creek flows though the town and unfortunately there is a risk of flash flooding as some areas have seen a foot of rainfall. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is actively sending warnings to evacuate.
The University of Colorado at Boulder has seen some 25 percent of its buildings on campus water damaged. More than 7 inches of rain fell there in the past 24 hours, setting a new record for rainfall in the town’s past 95 years. President Obama has declared a state of emergency as of Thursday, and federal aid will be used to “coordinate disaster relief efforts” in the region.