Colorado Floods: Crews Rescue Families, Animals

Emergency responders help those trapped by the devastating flooding.
7:49 | 09/15/13

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Transcript for Colorado Floods: Crews Rescue Families, Animals
homes by choppers. Meteorologist ginger zee is on the ground. Ginger, good morning. Hey, good morning to you, dan. I have to tell you. Yesterday I told you about the rivers feet above their record stage. I'm standing on one or what is the runoff from one. The south platte river, still about an hour away. A bunch of wild life popping up. More to come. Green is flash flood watch. Red is a warning. From new mexico up through northeastern colorado, an absolute mess with widespread rain on the way. This flooding still writing history. Colorado consumed. Again. It's just devastating. Reporter: Drama on high as the unyielding waters force hundreds of rescues. I think what we have is the greatest number of americans rescued by helicopters since hurricane katrina. Reporter: Up to four inches of rain, laden in hail, smothering aurora. Four people dead. 600 unaccounted for. I have never seen this much water anywhere. Reporter: At least 7,000 people evacuated from their homes. 85 students strapped by the flood waters. The south platte river overflowing at an alarming rate. Look at this time lapse. Floodwaters devouring the farmland in less than a half hour. Piles of dirt lined up to protect tiffany thompson's home. Her girls and pups makes the escape just in time. I have never been in an evacuation. It feels scary. Reporter: Neighbors mary ann and joseph, in disbelief. A har hour ago, you were there and it was dry. We were walking around the house and it was dry. Reporter: Homes piercing homes. Roads obliterated. Families holding on together. You saw the time lapse. It was like yesterday we were watching it rise before our eyes. It will happen again today. The forecast, the numbers not looking good for a lot of places that don't need this rain. Another 1 to 2 inches if you're in the purple area. It will dry out eventually. This moves out and by tuesday, dryer air moving in. A westerly flow sttrying to take over. I'll be coming back with the fashion's weather. For now, back to the studio. Thank you, ginger. President obama signed an emergency declaration ordering extra federal aid to colorado. The intense operation now involving a massive effort by the air national guard. On the phone with us is lieutenant mitch utterback. This is being described as the biggest air rescue since hurricane katrina. How is it going? Those are my words from yesterday. That's just the national guard. I'm lieutenant colonel. My afollow juice. Lieutenant colonel, thank you so much for joining us. How is the rescue operation going? Right now, the rescue operation concluded at about 2:00 this morning. The last troops out moving people and sup pplies around got their heads on pillows at 2:00. The helicopter pilots will be waking up now. We'll have a briefing with the incident management team at 7:00. The pilots will brief at 7:30. 600 unaccounted for, 7,000 evacuated. Thank you so much. Best of luck for you. H thank you for letting everybody know what we have going on out here. We appreciate it. A unique and dramatic perspect perspective. A local company in colorado sent up a small drone and captured the flood. The camera flieds smoothly over scenes of utter chaos. Roads that have become rivers. And rivers so high they almost touch the bottom of brijs. You can see neighborhoods swallowed by mud. You can also see rescue and emergency teams surveying the damage. And then, this camera hoverers low, right over the water itself, angry and brown. Take a look at images like this. And this. You can really get a sense from these shots of the sheer destructive power of the current. Indelible images of a disaster that willeave a lasting mark. Usually we get chopper footage. This is right over the water. As we often see amidst tragedies come acts of kindness and courage. Clayton sandell is in gr erk eley with incredible rescue stories. Reporter: Like so many colorado neighborhood this is morning this one is covered if a layer of water. The floods rose so quickly here, it was nearly impossible to get your animals out. That rescue job fell to a group of modern day cowboys. When so much is lost, heroes emerge in the most unexpected places. Come on, henry. Reporter: Across colorado, coming together, to help those that can't help themselves. There are eight people back there. Two people out there with them. Reporter: In this community, countless livestock left trapped overnight. We just started grabs horses. Reporter: This-year-old was stranded for 24 hour ifs freezing flood waters up to his haunchs. The rescuers using found inner tubes to tow him to high ground. His saviors refusing to leave his side. I'm happy right here. Reporter: This morning, he's alive and stable. Everyone pitches in. I went in the barn to catch the horse, and I could hear the goat. Reporter: Sheriff's deputy dan perusek began his search friday night. I grabbed them and their safe, too. Reporter: We were there, saturday, as he and his neighbors rescued 18 steeds. Along with an assortment of llamas, donkey, and cattle. Time after time returning with more. I don't have kids. But I have animals. I love animals. I know I helped a family out that looked like they were going to have to leave their animals behind. Reporter: And without so much as a cowboy's tip of the hat, he was off again, determined to save as many as he could. Somebody's got to give them a fighting chance, too. Reporter: All of those horses and animals that you saw have been taken to shelters. We just found some cats out here. There are hundreds of animals still out there waiting to be rescued. Dan? So much more left to be done. Thank you, clayton.

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