The death toll from last week’s Colorado flooding is expected to rise, the State’s Governor John Hickenlooper said on Monday.
More than 1,200 people have not been heard from since the waters rose in the mountain communities, but “I am very hopeful that the vast majority of these people are safe and sound,” Mr. Hickenlooper told NBC.
“You’re got to remember, a lot of these folks lost cell phones, landlines, the Internet four to five days ago,” he said.
Four people are confirmed dead and two more missing and presumed dead after their homes were swept away.
More than 11,000 people fled their homes during the flooding. Some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 have been damaged, according to an initial estimate released by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management on its website.
The Governor said 16 or 17 helicopters would resume searching on Monday for residents cut off from their communities since Wednesday last. “Our primary focus is making sure we get everyone in harm’s way out of there,” he said.
Phone service was restored to some of the areas over the weekend and officials were contacting more stranded people.
The heavy rainfall last week in the mountains was channelled into narrow, steep canyons that gave it the strength to push cars, boulders and even buildings out of the way.