When the many days worth of relentless heavy rainfall finally came to an end Monday, Colorado evacuees returned to heir homes and businesses to find unbelievable devastation. Some homes were left hanging off cliffs, others were completely destroyed and scores of small businesses were swamped with sand-filled cement-like floodwater that covered everything. The look of shock and sadness could be seen on the faces of those people finally allowed to go back into some flooded areas as they are left grappling with how they’re going to go about rebuilding their lives that will most likely take months to do.
According to state officials, at least eight people are confirmed dead due to flooding and over 600 more and listed as “unaccounted for”. The clear skies on Monday allowed rescue workers to resume helping stranded residents as nearly two dozen helicopters took to the skies to pluck people from their homes that were completely cut off due to entire roadways being washed away.
Residents and business owners in the Front Range area of Colorado quickly got busy sweeping, shoveling and rinsing although the rebuilding work was simply overwhelming for most. It was reported by state officials Monday that an unbelievable 19,000 homes in northern Colorado were either damaged or destroyed by the historic flooding.
Small business owners who were allowed to return to their businesses on Monday found inventory, documents and computers ruined by dirty flood water that had inundated their premises. Some stores and gas stations attempting to reopen their doors were very low on supplies as washed out roads and evacuation orders have stopped delivery by truck. Hardware stores from Fort Collins to Boulder were trying to clean up from the flooding as customers came in looking for tools and necessities.
In Lyons, about fifteen minutes from Boulder, the entire community was all but cut off from the rest of civilization due to massive flooding that took out roadways and bridges. The National Guard helped evacuate the entire town on Friday. On Thursday, Highway 66 that runs through Lyons was looking like any other typical small town main street. However, by Saturday, a raging river replaced Hwy 66, creating a scene reminiscent of an end-of-the-world feature film.