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'Biblical' Flooding Rages In Colorado

"As heavy rains brought wide ranging flood conditions across the state Thursday, the Front Range is bracing for more Friday," our colleagues at Northern Colorado's KUNC report.

They add that:

"The National Weather Service had described the water levels as 'biblical' Thursday. Reporter Luke Runyon noted on Twitter that it was an appropriate adjective given the state's recent run of drought and wildfires.

"State wide, the flooding has killed three — one in Jamestown when a structure collapsed, another in Colorado Springs, and the third in Boulder — where a woman is also missing."

The station is using Storify to follow the "torrential rains" and flooding.

Update at 6:15 p.m. ET. Four Dead:

The number of people who were killed as a result of the floods rose to four, Friday afternoon.

Reuters reports that Mike Banuelos, a spokesman for the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center, said search and rescue teams recovered the body of a woman who was swept away by the floodwaters near Boulder.

Update at 1:05 p.m. ET. Blue Sky Sighted, But Warnings Continue:

The CU-Boulder Police have posted an encouraging photo of blue skies over the city earlier in the day.

But authorities are not declaring that the crisis is over.

KUNC reports that Police Chief Mark Beckner told reporters "I would call it a 35 year event. ... Because in my 35 years, we've never had anything this significant."

The station adds that:

"Because of numerous road closures, travel in or around the city of Boulder is not advised. 'We're asking people not to come to Boulder unless it's necessary,' said Beckner. 'The reason for that is if you get here, you might not get back out. Most roads are closed, U.S. 36 is closed eastbound, you cannot get out of boulder if you get here.' "

Also, The Denver Post's latest headline is ominous:

"Colorado floods: Evacuations, road closures create havoc for Fort Collins, Boulder, Jefferson County."

The Post writes that "the first glimpses of blue sky in days emerged over parts of the Front Range on Friday, but pounding rain continued to raise fears of new rounds of flooding. ... Thousands of people remained evacuated throughout the region, and National Guard troops joined emergency crews trying to reach those in stranded communities."

From our original post:

The Denver Post began its coverage Friday this way:

"Drop by drop by drop, historic rainfall across a 150-mile expanse of Colorado's Front Range turned neighborhood streams into rampaging torrents that claimed at least three lives and continued to flood homes and destroy roads into the night.

"Heavy rain returned to the region Thursday evening, threatening an equally disastrous Friday."

The National Weather Service's "watches, warnings or advisories for Colorado" are collected here. The agency adds:

While "moderate to heavy rain will begin to taper off from the south through the day ... due to saturated soils and swollen rivers flooding [is] still possible."

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Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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