FORT COLLINS - Larimer County authorities said Monday that progress is being made in evacuating stranded flood victims in the county.
More than 15 helicopters have evacuated 110 people as of Monday afternoon. They anticipate 300 to 400 total evacuees by the end of the day. Rescue crews hope to double that number Tuesday, if the weather continues to cooperate.
The majority of the rescue operations Monday were focused on the Pinewood Springs and Storm Mountain areas in Larimer County.
Despite steady rainfall, 100 people were evacuated Sunday from the Cedar Cove area of the Big Thompson Canyon west of Loveland.
Those still unaccounted for in Larimer County are counted at 398, down from an original report of 643 by the county. That estimate was reduced after duplicate entries were checked off and 213 previously unaccounted people were located, the county says.
There are no confirmed fatalities in Larimer County, where the coroner's office says it has yet to receive a body of a flood victim. However, two people are missing from the Cedar Cove area and presumed dead.
An estimated 1,500 Larimer County homes were destroyed by the roaring waters, while another 4,500 were damaged. The flood's toll on county commerce: 200 businesses destroyed and 500 damaged. Three small dams in the Big Elk Meadows area also failed.
While the chance of rainfall in Fort Collins will dwindle to near zero starting Tuesday, rainfall gauges west of the city tell a clear story. Nearly 13 inches of rain fell on the High Park Fire burn scar in Rist Canyon during the past seven days, while between 8 and 10 inches fell in the surrounding areas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
With dry weather ahead, city, county and state road crews are turning their attention toward restoring transit connections severed by the flood. U.S. Highway 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon sustained extensive damage, while Colorado Highway 14 through the Poudre Canyon remains closed to the public after sustaining minimal damage, according to the county.
In Fort Collins, city officials still have no estimate on when closed Poudre River bridges on Overland Trail and Shields, Lincoln and Linden streets will reopen to vehicle traffic. Bridges are holding well, though, according to a city release.
The Poudre River has dropped out of flood stage, while the National Weather Service stream gauge at the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon was washed away by the flood.
Fort Collins city drinking water remains safe, according to a release, and water reclamation facilities report no flood-related issues.
TRAVEL INFORMATION AND ROAD CLOSURES/OPENINGS
The National Guard is assisting with traffic control and roadblocks. In addition to the numerous county road closures, the following Main Roads remain closed in Larimer County:
• U.S. 34 between Glade Road and Estes Park
• SH 14 between Ted's Place and Walden
• U.S. 287 at Big Thompson River in Loveland from SH 402 to 5th Street
For a complete list of County Road closures, please refer to the website:
For a complete list of road closures State wide, a web page has been set up at: www.coloradodot.info/travel/colorado-flood-highway-updates.
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