Flash flooding throughout parts of Colorado resulted in the deaths of at least three people and triggered rockslides that collapsed homes and left cars stranded on Thursday.
Gabbie Boerkircher, spokeswoman for Boulder County, said the first death occurred in Jamestown, after a person was trapped inside of a collapsed building. A second body was discovered in Colorado Springs by the local fire department, and a third in north Boulder on Thursday morning, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle confirmed in a press conference.
According to the Daily Camera local newspaper, Boulder sustained 7.21 inches of rain in the past 24 hours, the most ever recorded there, leading to what a spokesman for the Boulder County Office of Emergency Management called “extremely dangerous” conditions. "There is water everywhere," Andrew Barth told the Chicago Tribune. "We've had several structural collapses, there's mud and muck and debris everywhere. Cars are stranded all over the place."
The flooding prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning effective for central Boulder on Wednesday, and an additional warning for southeastern Colorado on Wednesday night. In an emergency message released overnight, the NWS called the floods a “life-threatening situation.” The Boulder main campus of University of Colorado also took preventative measures by evacuating graduate students, faculty, and staff from dorms and residences on the ground floors.
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"The rain, it almost feels like hail, the drops are so thick," University of Colorado-Boulder student Ryan Colla said during an interview with CNN affiliate KUSA. "It just keeps coming and coming and when you think it's going to subside, it's going to rain down harder."
The Red Cross, which previously had a shelter at the North Boulder Recreation Center, was also forced to shut down the location and move to an evacuation shelter. Spokeswoman Patricia Demchak Billinger said, “The move was made due to concern over rising water affecting access to and safety of the original site on Broadway.”