Colorado Floods Damage And Destroy 19,000 Homes

Colorado floods have destroyed or damaged 19,000 homes throughout the state and has left more than 1,000 residents stranded.

Officials warn that 1,253 people are still unaccounted for and that number is expected to climb as widespread flooding continues to stress rescue efforts in the region.

According to the Colorado Office of Emergency management five people have been reported dead, four in Boulder, and one in El Paso County.

A National Guard helicopter that was lifting residents to safety was eventually forced to ground on Sunday as heavy rains continued in the area. The helicopter crew was also made to move to higher grounds for the night as flood levels continued to increase.

1,000 people in Larimer County were still awaiting rescue on Sunday and were left stranded without power and low food supplies. 20 military helicopters and crews were scheduled to perform rescue operations but heavy rain and low ceilings hampered visibility.

National Guard workers have already conducted 400 rescue missions, the largest since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The area has been named a disaster area by President Obama as roadways and scenic bridges have been washed away by heavy flooding.

Flood waters have covered 2,000 square miles throughout 15 Colorado counties. More than 11,000 residents have been evacuated and thousands more are still awaiting evacuation help.

With heavy rains and ground saturation still a big problem residents worry that further flooding and flash floods could occur in the near future.

The Colorado floods arrive just months after the state experienced large-scale wildfires that required the assistance of hundreds of firefighters.

Officials in the area are reminding all residents to follow evacuation procedures and to remain calm as rescue workers attempt to work around heavy rains to rescue stranded people.