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In places with no cell phone service, emergency alerts go out in every other way possible

Deputies in Larimer County went through the Poudre Canyon Tuesday warning people camping and in cabins to get out when the flash flood warning was issued.

The sound of water used to bring peace. Now, all Suzan Bond Philpott can think about is its power. 

"It's where we come to get away from all the city life and the craziness," said Bond Philpott, looking at a massive pile of debris in the Poudre Canyon. "It's overwhelming. You can't even imagine what it used to look like."

Black Hollow Road sits buried under much of what the Cameron Peak Fire left behind last summer. Mixed in the middle are homes, memories, and search and rescue crews fear, a missing family.

A woman and two men are still missing after heavy rain caused a flash flood in the burn scar on Tuesday.

Bond Philpott found out her home was in danger when friends started texting her while she was away from her house. She found Thursday her home is still standing. 

"What I saw on the news doesn't even compare to what it is in reality when you're seeing it face to face," said Bond Philpott. "Seeing the backhoe on our bridge and the house roofs at our bridge, it's pretty overwhelming." 

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood warning at 5:24 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Forty-one minutes later, the NWS said logs, rocks and water took over parts of the Poudre Canyon.

In an area so remote, emergency alerts get to people in any way possible. There's very little cell phone service in the area of the Poudre Canyon where the flash flood happened. 

When the flash flood warning goes out, it's broadcast immediately on TV, on the national weather service website, and through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios that don't require cell phone service.

The 911 Authority in Larimer County, Larimer Emergency Telephone Authority (LETA911), also sent out alerts to every phone in the area through texts and calls.

RELATED: Greeley, Fort Collins shut down Poudre River as water source for ash, debris

RELATED: Woman killed, 3 family members missing in Larimer County after flooding

The folks in charge of sending the emergency alerts in Larimer County say they've found sometimes text messages get through even with very little cell service.

"LETA has several tools in place to alert our community of impending danger.  The tools include sending emergency alerts to Landline phones, cell phones, a keyword opt-in, which includes a text alert, and the IPAWS system," LETA911 wrote in a statement to 9NEWS. 

Sometimes speaking to people face to face is the only way to get information across in such rural areas. David Moore with the Larimer County Sheriff's Office says deputies rushed in to tell people to get out when the flash flood warning went into effect.  

"We actually send deputies to every area to knock on doors and go to every campsite down the river to alert people that there is danger," said Moore. "If you have a landline, you will automatically get that emergency notification. It's not an option."

Each person found out the danger was coming in a different way.

"When we saw the news reports, they had our sign on the bridge that said black hallow and that's how we knew it was our place," said Bond Philpott. 

Now she hopes time and some hard work will bring peace back to her neighborhood.

RELATED: Photos, videos show damage from flash flooding in Poudre Canyon

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