A Thousand People Still Trapped in Colorado Flash Floods

Rain is making it more difficult to reach those stranded by state's worst deluge in decades

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Helen H. Richardson / Denver Post via Getty Images

The floods have taken out huge portions of James Canyon Drive east and west of Jamestown, CO on September 15, 2013.

Driving rains have grounded helicopters and are hampering rescue vehicles as they attempt to reach as many as 1,000 people trapped in flooded areas of Colorado.

Flash floods have so far destroyed 1,502 homes, damaged thousands more, and killed as many as five people. An additional 326 people remain unaccounted for, according to Boulder County officials. Nearly 12,000 people have been evacuated.

President Obama designated the hard-hit areas a federal disaster zone on Sunday, freeing up federal funds for recovery efforts. One local official told CNN that Boulder county alone may require $150 million, more than 10 times the county’s annual budget, to repair damage to roads and an estimated 35 bridges.

News footage, like the clip below, shows roads sheared off by rushing water and fragments of sidewalk hanging over mud cliffs.

Rescuers are hoping to resume helicopter evacuations Monday and have asked those trapped to signal for help using flares, colored sheets, mirror or controlled signal fires.