DENVER - At the height of the Colorado flooding, the number of people unaccounted for topped 1,200, and fears grew of a massive death toll.
Those concerns have largely abated with seven confirmed fatalities, three missing and 82 people unaccounted for Friday.
That leaves the question: How did that number get so high?
Officials in the Rocky Mountain foothills compiled the lists based on the reports of relatives, friends and evacuees saying they had not heard from their loved ones and neighbors in the flood zone.
Sometimes the numbers conflicted or the names were duplicated.
Searchers consolidated lists, crossed off duplicates, cross-checked evacuees, made contact with people refusing to leave, and are going door-to-door for the rest.
They expect the search to become increasingly difficult.