Governor makes disaster declaration in ongoing flood emergency

Boulder's city manager also issued a declaration

DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper has issued a disaster declaration because of the ongoing flood that has trapped towns, killed at least two people and caused millions in damage to roads and buildings.

"We've approved disaster declaration & will request emerg. declaration from FEMA for search & rescue & emergency protective actions," Hickenlooper Tweeted Thursday morning.

In an address at 2:45 p.m., Hickenlooper announced that the Colorado Office of Emergency Management was activated to work around the clock.

"This could easily be a 50 or 100-year-flood," the governor said.

"I think the reason there hasn't been more loss of infrastructure, more loss of life, is that for - you know - go back to the Big Thompson Flood, ever since then people have been talking about (handling) more wastewater."

National Guard resources activated for Boulder County include seven high-water rescue teams, Blackhawk helicopters, three swift water rescue teams and a search and rescue team. Another Blackhawk was also activated to search and assess conditions in Larimer County.

A FEMA representative stood to the side while Hickenlooper addressed the cameras. They said they were working to get an emergency declaration request onto President Barack Obama's desk.

Additionally, the City of Boulder's city manager has signed and issued a local disaster and emergency declaration. Jane Brautigam's declaration allows the city to request necessary support from the state to help the city respond to flooding.

Specifically, Brautigam found that, “There currently exists reasonable cause to believe that the city, or a part of the city, is suffering from or is in imminent danger of suffering a disaster emergency, and that a declaration of disaster emergency is required to avoid or mitigate serious injuries to members of the public or the loss of life or property.”

Boulder County has been particularly hard-hit in the storms. The Town of Jamestown was evacuated and high waters isolated the Town of Lyons.

"Boulder County is experiencing a disaster today that is broad in scope and very dangerous in nature," said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle during a 9 a.m. press conference. "We know that we've lost lives. We anticipate that as the day goes on we may discover that we've lost others."

Adams County Board of County Commissioners Chairwoman Eva Henry also signed an order declaring a disaster in that county.

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