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Gazette Premium Content Officials say nearly 19,000 homes damaged, destroyed in Colorado flooding

The Associated Press Updated: September 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm

DENVER — Colorado emergency management officials have released an initial estimate that says the ongoing flooding has damaged or destroyed nearly 19,000 homes.

The Colorado Office of Emergency Management estimated Sunday on its website that 17,494 homes have been damaged and 1,502 destroyed.

In addition, 11,700 people have been evacuated and a total of 1,253 people are unaccounted for.

County officials have said that number fluctuates as stranded residents re-establish communication with family, friends or authorities.

Emergency officials say about 1,000 people in Larimer County are still awaiting rescue.

Type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team commander Shane Del Grosso said Sunday that many people have made contact with requests for evacuations.

But rain has grounded airlifts and prevented supply drops. Del Grosso says rescuers are looking for ways to get into the isolated areas by ground, but a change in the weather is needed to get to all the people who need it.

The rain is forecast to continue into Sunday night.

County officials say 16 helicopters are on standby in case the weather clears. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending two 80-person search-and-rescue teams to assist.

Hundreds more people are unaccounted for in Boulder County and other flood-affected areas.

The flooding is spread across parts of 15 counties.

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