clear
Friday July 31st, 2015 11:29AM

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
Back to Beijing for 2nd Olympics in 14 years
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Throughout more than 120 years of Olympic history, no city has hosted both the winter and summer games. Now, Beijing will be the first do it — and in the span of just 14...
10:11AM ( 1 hour ago )
US paychecks grow at record-slow pace in 2nd quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wages and benefits grew in the spring at the slowest pace in 33 years, stark evidence that stronger hiring isn't lifting paychecks much for most Americans. The slowdown also lik...
9:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
Congress heading on vacation, putting off messy decisions
WASHINGTON (AP) — As lawmakers head out of the Capitol for a five-week summer recess, they leave behind a pile of unfinished business that all but guarantees a painful fall.Not long after they return...
3:31AM ( 7 hours ago )
Rescuers hope for 'best-case scenario' for boys lost at sea
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Mustering hope for a "best-case scenario" in the face of countless unknowns, search crews braced for a seventh day and night at sea Thursday in the hunt for two teenagers...
6:22PM ( 17 hours ago )
Democrats consider distance from Jefferson, Jackson
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Democratic parties in the three states that start the presidential nominating process are exploring ending their association with two former White House occupants: Thomas Jefferso...
4:41PM ( 18 hours ago )