Sunday October 4th, 2015 7:24AM

Airlifts yield to door-to-door searches in Colo.

By The Associated Press
LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) -- Airlifts gave way to door-to-door searches Wednesday for victims injured and killed in the flood-scarred Colorado foothills, as authorities began ramping down emergency operations and beginning the "long and arduous" recovery phase.

Urban search-and-rescue teams with dogs and medical supplies began picking through homes, vehicles and debris piles for victims as the number of people reported missing dwindled from a high of 1,200 to fewer than 200.

They also are documenting the damage they find, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said.

It is part of responders ending the "high-octane" emergency response to dayslong flooding that began last week "and moving into the long and arduous task ahead," Pelle said.

Ten helicopters were still flying rescue missions, down from a high of about two dozen. Some of the helicopters that have been used for emergency airlifts may be returned to Fort Carson, where they will be on standby, Colorado National Guard Lt. Mitch Utterback said.

Rescuers were trying to make contact with 450 people who remained stranded in Larimer County north of Boulder, but it was unclear how many of those people actually want to leave, sheriff's spokesman John Schulz said.

He warned those who stayed behind that they may be stuck there as the emergency operations end.

"The (military) air resources are going to be going away here very soon," Schulz said. "Larimer County has no air resources, once they're gone we're not going to be able to get those people for a very long time."

Business owners were being allowed back into the heavily damaged town of Lyons on Wednesday to assess the damage, and homeowners under mandatory evacuations were expected follow Thursday.

Jamestown residents were allowed home Wednesday, and three entrances to Rocky Mountain National Park were reopened along with two roadways.

Many homeowners ignored the evacuation orders to stay with their homes, and they waved off rescue helicopters flying overhead.

Displaced Lyons residents and music fans took their traditional Tuesday night bluegrass jam to the nearby town of Longmont, where they comforted each other and raised money for two musicians who lost instruments in the flood.

"We're all reconnecting after the storm, when we got split up, and now we're all talking about how we're going to rebuild and help each other and get through this, get back to a place of happy community," said Mike Marzano.

Meanwhile, the South Platte River crested and surged Wednesday through the towns and farms of the Colorado plains and into Nebraska.

Volunteers in Ovid filled sandbags and built a dike overnight in the northeastern Colorado town of about 300, preventing serious flooding when the river crested there Wednesday morning, Sedgwick County emergency management director Mark Turner said.

The river rose to a record level of more than 10 feet near the Colorado-Nebraska border, and some flooding was reported near the Nebraska town of Big Springs.

The plains areas of eastern Colorado and western Nebraska is largely rural farmland, which has so far limited the damage compared to the devastation in the mountain communities to the west.

State officials held the number of flood-related deaths at six, plus two women missing and presumed dead. The number is expected to increase, but it could take weeks or even months to search through all the flooded areas.

More than 6,400 disaster victims have applied for federal assistance, with more than $430,000 approved so far, Federal Emergency Management officials said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released $30 million to begin repairing roads, highways and bridges.

The cost of rebuilding infrastructure and thousands of homes is not yet known. Officials believe it will take hundreds of millions of dollars and months, if not years, to recover.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
UN is next stop for Obama after success with Iran, pope; top issues are IS, Syria, Russia
NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh from successes on Iran and with the pope, President Barack Obama still carried heavy burdens into critical meetings this week at the U.N. General Assembly.They include the threat...
3:31PM ( 6 days ago )
Stunning Congress, House Speaker Boehner announces plans to resign; tea party declares victory
WASHINGTON (AP) — Plunging Congress into deeper turmoil, House Speaker John Boehner abruptly announced his resignation Friday, shutting down a tea party drive to depose the nation's highest-ranking Re...
6:14PM ( 1 week ago )
Tornado heavily damages 10 homes but causes no injuries on island in South Carolina
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A tornado quickly blew through a neighborhood on the South Carolina coast early Friday and blew out windows, knocked down trees and heavily damaged ten homes.The tornado touc...
5:08PM ( 1 week ago )
Caterpillar says it may cut more than 10,000 jobs by 2018, lowers 2015 revenue expectation
Caterpillar is planning another round of job cuts that could exceed 10,000 people through 2018, as the construction and mining equipment maker adjusts to downturns in key markets.That could amount to...
10:06AM ( 1 week ago )
Escaped tarantula grounds Atlanta-bound flight in Baltimore
An eight-legged creature that escaped in the cargo hold of a passenger flight from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International grounded the plane and sent passengers onto another flight.
By The Associated Press
9:06AM ( 1 week ago )