HYGIENE, Colo. (AP) – Weary Colorado evacuees have begun returning home after days of rain and flooding, but Monday’s clearing skies and receding waters revealed only more heartbreak: toppled houses, upended vehicles and a stinking layer of muck covering everything.
Rescuers grounded by weekend rains took advantage of the break in the weather to resume searches for people still stranded, with 21 helicopters fanning out over the mountainsides and the plains to drop supplies and airlift those who need help.
The number of dead and missing people was difficult to pinpoint. State emergency officials reported the death toll at seven Monday, but local officials said it was four, with two women missing and presumed dead. Authorities also recovered a body from a Colorado Springs creek Monday, but investigators can’t say yet if the death is related to recent flooding in the area.
The number of missing people was dropping as the state’s count fell Monday from just over 1,200 to about half that. State officials hoped the overall number would continue to drop with rescuers reaching more people and phone service being restored.