1,000 people in Larimer County residents need rescue; 2nd woman presumed dead in county

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - The 1,000 people in Larimer County who are in need of rescue will have to wait at least one more day before they can be picked up by helicopter, the incident commander said Sunday afternoon during a news briefing.

Wet, cloudy conditions grounded search and rescue helicopters on Sunday.

A federal incident management team, normally called out to Colorado to fight catastrophic fires, is now managing the flooding crisis in Larimer County.

Incident Commander Shane Del Grosso said there were about 200 people in Big Elk Meadows and 12 people in Pinewood Springs who were ready to be rescued Sunday morning. The other 800 or so are from various parts of the county, Del Grosso said.

However, the weather has not cooperated, and rain stalled the rescue operations, Del Grosso said.

Seven Blackhawks, three Chinooks, and two helicopters have been used in the operation. On Monday, they will be joined with two search and rescue teams, comprised of 80 members each, will join that effort.

Del Grosso said, "We need a change in the weather to get a break."

In the meantime, authorities will use the time to strategically plant the next steps.

 

-- 2nd woman missing, presumed dead --

 

Investigators have confirmed that a second person is missing and presumed dead in Larimer County.

An 80-year-old woman from Cedar Cove, was injured and in the house when it was destroyed, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office tweeted.

There are now have 482 unaccounted people in Larimer County.

There are now six people presumed killed by the historic floods that hit Colorado late Wednesday. Three people were killed in Boulder County. One person  was killed in Colorado Springs. A 60-year-old woman in Larimer County was presumed killed, sheriff's officials said Saturday.

The sheriff's office said it does anticipate additional fatalities, but not a huge number.

"I don’t expect huge number of fatalities. I expect a lot more stories of families reuniting," Sheriff Justin Smith said during a Sunday morning press conference.

He choked up saying,"I can tell you while I felt hopeless on Friday, I felt a lot of hope, a lot of real energy, yesterday. Because the question I had was how can we ever recover from this? I know exactly  -- inch by inch, mile by mile, community by community, they're taking this stuff back. They're doing it. People are getting things done out there."

He said he's seeing hope with neighbors in Pinewood Springs and Estes Park helping each other.

He said residents in the mountains are "hardy folks" who are hiking out, using ATVs and dirt bikes to escape. They are used to hunkering down during snowstorms, he said.

Rescue crews are going door-to-door trying to check on people.

Drake in Big Thompson Canyon remains isolated but there is progress in the canyon.

"We have a long road ahead of us but it is happening," Smith said.

Century Link service is slowly being restored to the Estes Park area, Smith said. AT&T and Verizon have cell service up as well.

There will be a meeting at 7:30 p.m. for evacuees at Timberline Church in Fort Collins.

 

-- Estes Park mail held in Grand Lake --

Residents in Estes Park will have to drive over the Continental Divide, via Trail Ridge Road, to get their mail in Grand Lake, Colo.

The Town of Estes Park posted on its Facebook page, "Unfortunately there can be no efforts for mass mail delivery to Estes at this time."

Identification is required to retrieve mail and residents cannot pick up mail for multiple people.

The Post Office in Grand Lake is at 970-627-3340. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.