17 counties in the state of Colorado have been devastated by raging floods this past week. Starting with torrential downpours on Thursday, the near-constant rains since have caused rivers and streams to rapidly overflow their banks, creating large-scale mudslides while washing out several roads and bridges.
Ground-based rescue efforts were hampered for several days by the scope of the event, causing officials to go airborne through utilizing helicopters to reach victims of the catastrophe. One scientist has noted that this was an event which only happens once every thousand years, speaking volumes to its destructive power.
The numbers behind the suffering have wildly fluctuated over the last five days, but even the low estimates are tragic. It has been confirmed thus far that eight people are dead, with over 600 still missing. Reports state that - at minimum - 19,000 homes have been adversely affected, with at least 1,500 of those completely destroyed, causing officials to speculate that property damage will reach the $1B mark.
State authority is cautiously hopeful that the restoration of communication channels will find a majority of those still missing safe and sound, though admit the current numbers could skyrocket once the final tally is determined. Weather forecasts suggest that the worst of the rains have passed, although additional thunderstorms are still possible for the next 24 hours.