LARIMER COUNTY - Big Thompson Canyon residents are relying on each other to get them through epic flooding that has brought back chilling memories of 1976.
Resident Korey Malmborg told 9NEWS he and others have teamed up to cut down trees and build a temporary road for people to get into and out of the canyon. He says it is the same route flood victims used after the 1976 Big Thompson disaster that took 144 lives.
Malmborg says US 34 through the canyon isn't just broken in many spots, but missing. He expects the temporary road will be the primary route for canyon residents through at least next summer. He believes most people that needed to be evacuated have done so. Those who chose to stay are self-supplied with food, water, medicine and generators.
Malmborg calls the damage to the Big Thompson Canyon "astounding."
Some of Malmborg's neighbors, like John Gonzalez, used ATVs to head up the Big Thompson Canyon over the weekend to reach isolated family members.
Peggy Lafferty, Gonzalez's grandmother, lived through the 1976 flood.
"In the other flood, it left things that this time it took. And, it just ripped away everything that we thought could never move," Lafferty said.
Water kept getting closer to everything she considered home in her Cedar Cove neighborhood.
"Devastation. Great loss. I lost one friend, that I know of, in Cedar Cove," Lafferty said.
Gonzalez knew his family was threatened.
"They were panicked up there, and they had seen some pretty horrific stuff," he said.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)