Massive Flash Floods Wreak Havoc In Northern Colorado

Residents urged to seek higher ground as search-and-rescue efforts begin.
16:06 | 09/13/13

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Transcript for Massive Flash Floods Wreak Havoc In Northern Colorado
This is a special group. Report from ABC news. I'm Dan -- in New York with -- ABC news digital special report on the flooding in Colorado raging waters this morning. Creeks overflowing over these train tracks some towns. Like lions in Jamestown there without power there without phone service and they are essentially cut off from any kind of help. All because of flooded streets and scenes like this and thousands of residents are on alert to pack up and try to move to higher ground. ABC's brandy hit is live in Boulder, Colorado covering the latest on this flight and of course the cleanup effort but still enforcing -- -- -- more rain might be forecast. That's right and we've actually -- a little bit of clearing in the weather but up to two inches of rain are expected to fall today in some areas of Colorado alone. Fortunately we're in an area that is actually singing seen some of that cleanup under way you see a little bit of the debris behind -- in in that truck. All of this debris was up to maybe waist high less than five hours ago you see a lot of crews out here working to try and clean up the areas they can. Unfortunately as you mentioned there are a lot of areas that are still under. Feet of water. And right now the National Guard is working and around the clock doing -- best it can't to trying to rescue families who were stranded by the floodwaters. Residents in Boulder, Colorado are keeping their -- to the -- hoping the torrential rains that have battered the region for days might finally peace. Overnight dangerous flash floods triggered warning sirens with officials telling nearly 4000 people living along Boulder Creek to head for higher ground. A dam breach caused a sudden surge of water mud and debris to -- through this tiny town the owner of this home frantically signaled for help. By daybreak -- -- waters started to received a surprising amount is still flowing through city streets. A few miles north the town of -- located in the rocky mountain foothills remains isolated. The National Guard is there rescuing residents trapped on the wrong side that are raging river. If the water comes over this bridge. -- -- -- -- Colorado's experienced a record setting floods all summer in the mountains seems like this a road completely wiped away. -- this remarkable rescue were a man was trapped in his car for an hour. Some of the flooding exacerbated by wildfire -- scholars. At least three people have died and others remain unaccounted for. With Colorado's governor warning the situation remains dangerous. Waters filled with debris and -- And then it it is almost like liquid cement and -- can even just -- -- to have water to knock people over. At and you can be swept away. We've seen so many people swept away by this fast moving flood waters in schools in this area also remain closed for another day. The University of Colorado is also closed as well today. Unfortunately Dan as we mentioned you know may -- dry right now but kept it up to two inches of rainfall on some of these areas they don't need that and unfortunately the rain is also expected to continue through the weekend -- No breaks for those people that are involved and brandy we know three people. Their deaths are attributed to the rising floodwaters -- from the heavy rain that's been happening there. What about the number of those that are still missing. According to the governor and other officials here in the state they believe at least seventeen people are unaccounted for now -- saying. That they don't believe that they are -- they're just unaccounted for in -- working as hard as they can to try and find those seventeen people like we did get a report also. Two missing hikers who -- very high up at elevations I mean we're talking areas that got snow when this storm hit. And these hikers were experienced hikers their families tell ABC news. That today at you know we're calling them saying that they were getting hit by a snowstorm out of nowhere and they haven't heard from -- cents. So with these kind of stories that rescue workers are trying to piece together. Unfortunately according to the sheriff yesterday he does believe that death told will likely rise once they reach all of these outlying areas -- It is so heartbreaking and so -- director header on the fact that when you see where you're standing you're putting -- the fact that now that water was almost was due to higher than your waist just five hours ago. -- -- has Powell been brought back on in that area. Fortunately that Howard did not go -- here on in there there's a bunch of slopes and this area and unfortunately. There are a lot of vehicles here overnight when we arrived and those vehicles were submerged under water none of those vehicles are starting now they can't. So we see as a coach -- coming -- -- -- vehicles out at the cleanup effort is underway. There's a grocery store that is about maybe a hundred yards behind me. That grocery store is full of -- it -- the floodwaters came through and when the water was waist deep right now. All you could see work boxes of cereal fruits and vegetables from that water pushing everything out mystery that's what they've been spending all morning cleaning up. So be it just hit miss depending on where you -- From what we heard from the press -- earlier today from governor Hickenlooper I mean obviously it sounds like is pretty much all hands on deck there was -- the National Guard coming and what about any help from the White House and they've -- The stepped -- for any kind of possible emergency declaration. Definitely overnight the president the White House -- that they were going to be working with Colorado and it will be keeping up to date on everything that's happening here. You have the National Guard Matt FEMA stepping -- And a lot of this is for families who have been displaced just thousands of people who are still outside their homes that have been told to evacuate so those -- -- food. Shelter water there's a lot of people who their homes you know maybe kind of submerged -- people are staying here but they can't drink that water they're being asked to boil their water. So a lot of resources are coming in but as we've been talking unfortunately the rain supposed to continue it's not going to be as heavy as we -- Thursday is expected to be light. But that hasn't -- the situation until you're gonna see a lot of these emergency -- staying here for the next several days. And I know that yesterday -- federal emergency there is using the emergency management office in Boulder County had set up a couple of evacuation centers. I think expanding that kind of operation Microstrategy to help people find a place to stay because -- mean imagine at this point -- -- your house is no longer flooded. You know could clearly you can't stay. Now you can't stand out as -- thing is we saw a bunch of evacuations -- -- be coming in to help. You know with the original evacuations then overnight we -- a thousand more people get evacuated in the middle of the night -- -- I think that's scary about this imagine. Wondering what's going on in the hearing a flood siren go off in the middle of the night being told the wall of -- coming your way. More people were evacuated overnight. More shelters are being set up and unfortunately with the unknown scenario -- them how how these floodwaters are going to rise and fall. They don't want anyone going in certain areas going back just yet even though their homes may be OK now. What happens if a giant chunk of debris a -- moves. And allows another you know the -- of blocking the water as more water to come rushing through -- -- is very cautious right now. All right ABC's -- hit in Boulder, Colorado brandy thank you -- that obviously stay safe. I want to turn out to Jesse movers. On the phone she's calling us from long mount Colorado and that's not far. From lions that is the town with a National Guard he's rescuing stranded residents -- Jesse thank you to take some time. First of -- are you stranded are you able to get -- out of your house. Now we have no access at this time we're about back country road and that road has to cherry -- Gauge the amount of water on the road Turks -- -- canyon in the -- super. Is so even if -- even if -- walker I mean if you had a ten or dollars an event like even even so you can essentially stranded. At this point they're saying that we're not be allowed to be -- her acting on it because it's so dangerous. So you still have power you still have you saw a phone. At least. At this point are our lines are -- will be -- And water on the side of the road weary of his cape and so we're little winners of those -- -- Into the -- and then we -- just slightly higher gas reduction water. So so what essentially is your plan and again because as we've been covering it you know we'd -- -- the fact that. There's -- -- call to evacuate from those low lying areas -- areas that have been flooded out to get to higher ground but in a situation like yours you you're you're essentially stuck what I mean do you. It have you been advised -- two to wait there have you been advised to try to make a break when you think it waters might -- And we think any -- -- I plan is we have bags ready as we need to evacuate. Our -- stay here as long as possible. Emergency a look at some of the pictures that you sent -- over end and I'm guessing this is this is your back -- this is your neighborhood and yet. About how many other marriage how many people live in and that area. I'm slaying -- probably 150. Yeah. What about food what about water has that it's. We. We -- that just them on hand. That -- last couple days and then all of the homes in the area -- well. So we've been getting water from the wells the wells have been compromised illegal people -- the -- If electricity were it would have no access to that one. Has there been any kind of advisory either from the from the power company about potential gas lines being exposed in in and not using an. Find exposed we are still using gas and -- -- -- at that point to -- lines. Have you heard helicopters. Overhead -- -- surveying the area because I -- yesterday. That was and that the major problem that rescuers were having in the fact that there was such low cloud covers they weren't actually -- the choppers up in the air. Have you seen any flying -- had. We've not seen any helicopters went really coastline and ask where -- the National Guard is evacuating man. And so I think -- believed that after they've been evacuated in the cab and asked to evacuate as well. So that the -- really started early yesterday morning. Yes I would say -- late in the evening to early morning. In the elephant and flooding began. And floods didn't have. There was in the -- start besides. And then by 8 AM it was it was everything was Cutler. And has the water level when going up and down a minute I know that that as the -- -- stopping and starting again and and various bridges and dams have either broken through work or given way that it's it's -- change the -- a little bit. Yeah absolutely the water has been going up and down although. I think department is not consulate living here it would seem that way. We did it greens but it shell -- -- sometimes. Have you been -- did it says. To kind of make or break for whenever you see it might -- low. And well at this point can't do -- -- yesterday. There were times yesterday it was -- Everett in my life span but all of the -- -- -- where close. So you know we completed really happening to go -- And end what about a plan and indeed he is there any idea both you know. When in fact you might have to say you know what you just might have to get out of there if in fact it goes on for much longer. Women power and gas at -- we will definitely believes. Yeah. At that point -- just blocked the road against. At a way to get -- here. Well at least you're keeping a sense of humor about -- something -- certainly has the situation I don't think anyone wanna find themselves and Jesse -- Thank you so much obviously we are hoping for your safety and four very. Quick rescue to get out of that area. But of course the big concern now is how much more rain might be hitting that area for that I wanna go to AccuWeather is -- -- with the latest on the forecast from bringing this area just not getting a break. Now not in the next 24 hours unfortunately because when you take a look at the satellite picture Dan. And the radar looks very similar to what we were looking at about 24 hours ago we still. Have that storm system in about the same place Nevada and in Utah and it's this. Rich moisture coming in from the south now. Little band of thunderstorms moving away from the Denver and boulder area as we speak but I'm very concerned about the -- thunderstorms that you see. Along I 25 south of San of today with that moisture coming in from the -- -- once the sun works on it just like yesterday. There's going to be additional showers and thunderstorms and since the thunderstorms. Continue to move from south and north. They keep moving over the same areas now it may not be as bad as what we saw yesterday but I'm still. Very nervous about the next 24 hours. That you still going to have the ability to produce showers and thunderstorms -- can put down amounts. Of three to six inches unfortunately with the wind coming in from the east in the low levels of the atmosphere. You start getting what we call up slope when you get -- showers and thunderstorms to enhance over the mountains. The rain falls heavily in -- we've seen spots over a half foot of rain -- over a foot of rain should -- and then that water rushes down the mountains and the canyon sides. Now there is going to be a little break this weekend but they're still going to be showers and thunderstorms around I think we're gonna -- -- wait until next week when the wind comes in from the west so all that moisture coming in from Mexico. Get shunted into Texas. And then we start to break things out with some sun and then we'll dry things out so still the real potential for some heavy rain today. We still going to help thunderstorms over the weekend with isolated no problems with flash flooding. But it's not until really next week before things improve -- And and Bernie is you've been putting out it's not just the rain that is the flooding is that water that's gonna constantly just be sitting there that isn't able to soak up into the ground. It's been a dry summer. And that area. -- they've added they've been under drought in fact. Now eastern Colorado has gone rain in the last couple of months so the drought conditions on his dad there but much of the southwest. And the plains states have been under drop but that's the way the weather works unfortunately in the plains states. And in the Rockies you go from drought. The floods and unfortunately because of the ground how hard it is number one number two. The terrain with the thunderstorms forming over the mountains and heavy rain falling into the mountains and then that rain has no place to go. But down the east side so you funnel all of the water in the one location. And that's why you're seeing some of these horrible. Pictures and video coming out. It's its images that unfortunately we've seen before in the west. But it is scary nonetheless and even more difficult for areas that may just not be used to that aren't AccuWeather -- -- right and it's hard. No one could ever be used to the kind of flooding that you get in the west when you get these thunderstorms that sit over some areas. It is scary but it is part of the country where that is most likely to happen. The F further emphasis on taking those alerts very seriously that we've been getting them first responders in the area -- is -- ran -- -- thank you for that. Of course have a complete write up on abcnews.com. Along with a complete forecast for what that area should be expected over the next couple of days. As those heavy rains and that torrential flooding. He is still gripping a great deal of that area northwest of Denver Colorado. For now on -- -- our New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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