Hundreds missing in Colorado floods
Updated: 2013-09-15 10:35
Shultz teared up behind his sunglasses as he compared his situation to that of his neighbors.
"At least all of our stuff's there and will be there when we get back. The people right by the river, their houses were washed away. Other people thought their houses were going to be OK, and then they started to go. It's just really devastating."
Across the foothills, rescuers made progress against the floodwaters. But they were still unable to go up many narrow canyon roads that were either underwater or washed out.
On Saturday, the surge of water reached the plains east of the mountains, cutting off more communities and diverting some rescue operations.
The military put more troops on the ground and helicopters in the air to aid in the search-and-rescue effort. More rain was in the forecast.
By Saturday evening, more than 1,200 people had been evacuated over two days, National Guard Lt. Col. Mitch Utterback said. More than 700 people spent Friday night in shelters, according to the Red Cross.
A helicopter taking Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on a tour of the flooded areas stopped to pick up four stranded people and their two pets. The governor tweeted about the impromptu rescue, and spokesman Eric Brown confirmed it but did not have any details.
Terry Kishiyama's son flagged down a helicopter with his shirt after a three-day wait for rescue from a neighbor's house on higher ground.
"You could hear the choppers for miles and miles, but I didn't know if they were evacuating people. You see a chopper going down behind a ridge, and you have no clue," Kishiyama said.
In addition to his son's efforts, Kishiyama said his wife shouted at the chopper, "We have babies!"
Above the plains of Larimer County, rescue crews planned to fly as many missions as possible while skies were clear. Crews used inflatable boats to pick up families and pets from farmhouses. Some evacuees on horseback had to be escorted to safe ground.
Near Greeley, 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of the foothills, broad swaths of farmland had become lakes, and the raging South Platte and Poudre rivers surrounded more homes.
For those awaiting an airlift, Guardsmen dropped food, water and other supplies into the winding, narrow canyons. With supplies dwindling, residents of Lyons barbecued their food before it spoiled.
After being closed for more than a day, Interstate 25 to the Wyoming border was reopened Saturday.
In neighboring New Mexico, state police on Saturday reported the first death related to massive flooding in the state this week from record heavy rains and overflowing rivers. A man died after his vehicle washed into a ravine covered in mud near the Elephant Butte dam, probably Friday during flooding, said New Mexico State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez.