1 dead as torrential rains, flash floods close roads, highways, prompts emergency evacuations

Flash flood warning for parts of Denver metro area

ERIE, Colo. - This is a running blog of what occurred overnight during the historic Sept. 12 floods in Colorado.

Updates to this story can be found at: http://ch7ne.ws/15TTCAI

Torrential rains poured down in Boulder County overnight, collapsing homes, killing at least one person, breaking dams, prompting evacuations, closing streets and major highways and shutting down schools.

As much as 6 inches of rain fell overnight, causing widespread flooding from Larimer County to El Paso County, with rock and mudslides reported in many areas. Dozens of buildings on the CU Boulder campus suffered damage. CU is closed Thursday.

The one person who was killed by the flash flood lived in Jamestown, a small town in the foothills northwest of Boulder.   Multiple buildings were reported to have collapsed in Jamestown and the person who died was trapped in one of the buildings. Rescue crews had a difficult time getting to the victim because of a rockslide nearby.

The Boulder Turnpike, U.S. Highway 36, was closed overnight in both directions from Sheridan Boulevard to McCaslin Boulevard, due to flooding. It reopened before 5 a.m.

Residents who lived in the Fourmile burn area northwest of Boulder were ordered to evacuate and seek higher ground overnight.  Rock and mudslides closed many mountain roads.

Here are the  major developments that occurred overnight:

4:30 a.m.: Lyons wastewater plant breached. Boulder county government building closed.

4:20 a.m.:  Larimer County Sheriff: We have confirmation that Meadow Lake Dam has broken near County Road 47. Extrication operations underway.

4:15 a.m.: Boulder County: Please stay off roads. Do not try to get to work or school Thursday. Leave roads open to emergency vehicles.

4:10 a.m. : CU-Boulder pond overflowing, flooding 28th St underpass. 19th Street foot bridge under water on CU campus.

3:55 a.m.: School closures for Thursday: Boulder Valley School District. St. Vrain is closing Lyons and Hygiene schools. The rest will be open.

3:45 a.m.: Lyons Elementary is now open as an evacuation center, but no Red Cross there yet.

2:55 a.m.:  The National Weather Service in Denver has issued a Flash Flood Warning for South Central Larimer County until 530 a.m.

Emergency Management reported an overtopping dam near Big Elk Meadows or about 4 miles west of Pinewood Springs. One of four dams including Sunset Lake, Rainbow Lake, Willow Lake and Mirror Lake are overtopping and is in fear of breaching. This flooding would impact locations along County Road 47 and then downstream to near Pinewood Springs.

This flash flooding impacts Pinewood Springs. Move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life.

2:35 a.m.: In Weld County, flash flooding is expected to begin shortly.  Some locations that will experience flooding including Brighton, Firestone, Frederick, Fort Lupton, Lochbuie and Dacono.

2:25 a.m.: CDOT reports I-70 westbound is closed at Beaver Brook due to mudslides; There is no estimated time of re-opening

2:17 a.m. : A flood warning continues for Boulder Creek in Boulder until further notice or until the stream falls below flood stage.  At 1:45 a.m., the stage was at 6.8 feet.  Flood stage is 5.5 feet. Moderate flooding is occurring.  The river is expected to continue rising to near 7.5 feet before it begins falling. 

2:15 a.m.: For safety purposes, the Red Cross shelter in the city of Boulder has relocated to the YMCA of Boulder Valley, 2850 Mapleton Ave. The original site at the North Boulder Recreation Center has been closed. Red Cross volunteers and supplies are on site at the new location.

The move was made due to concern over rising water affecting access to and safety of the original site on Broadway. No evacuees had checked in to either location as of 2 a.m. today.

The Red Cross has helpful flood safety tips online and encourages media to share this proactive information with audiences: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/flood . This page also includes recovery information for safe return after flooding.

2 a.m.: Larimer Sheriff: Emergency Services has requested National Guard helicopter to assist with possible extrication operations in Big Elk area on County Road 47 off of Hwy 36 near Estes Park. Colo. Highway 66 being closed at Highway 36.  No traffic allowed in to Lyons.  Lyons weather spotter Greg Berman has recorded 5 inches of rain by midnight in Lyons and reports the St. Vrain River is over its banks in town and people are self-evacuating.

1:55 a.m.: U.S. Highway 36 is being closed from Lyons to Estes Park due to flooding.

1:50 a.m.: Colorado Springs PD: Flash Flood Warning in effect until 430 a.m. Seek higher ground, avoid creeks, ditches and low-lying areas.

1:45 a.m.: Still raining heavily north of Boulder. Creeks appear to have peaked, except for James Creek which is still rising. All creeks, rivers and tributaries are being monitored.

- Hwy 66 out of and into Lyons flooding and will be closed

- Street flooding in Lyons continues, but no evacuations have been ordered.

- Hwy 36 closures north of Boulder at Pinewood

- Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder closed from Foothills Parkway east

- Streets throughout central and north Boulder have standing water and debris. Stay indoors and do not drive if possible.

- Allenspark Camp populated with volunteers. No Red Cross on site.

1:40 a.m.: 7NEWS Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson says Boulder Creek is running at 4,000 CFS. Normal flow runs around 300-350 CFS. Link: http://ch7ne.ws/14NAUEF

1:30 a.m.: Evacuation centers are open at Nederland Community Center: Bridge Road. & W. 5th and Boulder YMCA at  28th & Mapleton.

1:25 a.m.: CU Boulder campus closed Thursday due to effects of severe flooding.

1:15 a.m. U.S. 36 toward Boulder is closed at Broomfield.  I-70 WB closed at Hidden Valley due to rock slide.

1:10 a.m.:  Boulder County ordered all emergency services personnel to high ground.

1:05 a.m.: One dead reported in Jamestown due to flooding, building collapse. Mandatory evacuation of Jamestown underway.

1 a.m.:  Boulder County OEM: Lookout & Spine Roads Flooded Avoid Area

The following roads are closed:  Lookout Road, Spine Road, Lefthand Canyon Road, Leehill Road, Arapahoe Avenue East of 55th, Foothills at Baseline,  Canyon Boulevard from mouth of Canyon to Broadway

12:50 a.m. Structure damage in Jamestown. An evacuation notice for Jamestown is underway. Head for higher ground.

12:33 a.m.: Iris and Broadway impassable in Boulder due to street flooding.

12:30 a.m. NWS is about to issue a "civil alert" to the media bc storm system stalled. Emergency notice to all weather radios.

12:15 a.m. National Weather Service Boulder just tweeted: "Life Threatening situation!!! Flash Flood Emergency is now in effect for Boulder County & Northern Jefferson County, including Boulder."

12:10 a.m. National Weather Service Boulder: Rapid Rises also on the St. Vrain Creek through Lyons, and South Boulder Creek through Eldorado Springs. Be prepared for evacuations!

12 a.m. Boulder Office of Emergency Mgt: Life-threatening flash flood imminent in Fourmile area. Debris in Poorman Road and Gold Run but they are passable. Boulder OEM: http://ch7ne.ws/15YjXqr Flash flood warning for Teller and El Paso Counties have been canceled. 

11:30 p.m.: From Boulder Office of Emergency Mgt - Four Mile Canyon situation to worsen. Climb to high ground immediately! Recommended evacuation route: Poorman Road up to higher ground. West of Ingraham Gulch can take Gold Run to Gold Hill.  Please begin to move to higher ground ASAP!

Flooding along Fourmile Canyon Creek is expected to push into northern Boulder, with residential flooding expected, according to the National Weather Service.  El Dorado Springs is reporting 2 feet of water on roads. People in flood areas need move to higher ground.

11:15 p.m. Lefthand Canyon was completely impassable following a large rock slide.

At 10:40 p.m.  CU Boulder was evacuating some family housing due to flooding.  Family housing is located near Boulder Creek on the CU campus. . About 100 to 200 people were evacuated from family housing. No student housing was affected. CO 93 Northbound / Southbound closed between Highway 72 and Highway 128.

At 10:30 p.m., the National Weather Service in Boulder tweeted that people were trapped in vehicles along Highway 93 in NW Jefferson County. 

At 10:02 p.m. The City of Boulder activated flood sirens near Boulder Creek urging anyone near the waterway to seek higher ground immediately. Do  not cross the creek or attempt to flee the area in a vehicle.

The safest route is on foot, away from lower lying areas. If you are on the south side of the creek, head south along Broadway to the university. If you are on the north side of the creek, head north to Spruce Street or higher.

-- Flash Flood Warning for parts of Denver metro area -- 

At 10 p.m., the National Weather Service in Denver issued a Flash Flood Warning for northwestern Arapahoe County,  southwestern Adams County, and  central Denver County until 1 a.m. Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated heavy rain over the area. Up to 1 inches of rain have already fallen in the past hour. Some locations that will experience flooding include... eastern Denver...western Aurora...southern Commerce City and Buckley AFB. Precautionary/preparedness actions... Move to higher ground now. Act quickly to protect your life. Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of small creeks and streams...urban areas...highways...streets and urban areas...highways...streets and underpasses as well as other drainage areas and low lying spots.

Heavy rains and downed power lines also forced a road closure in Erie.

The Erie Police Department said Erie Parkway will be closed between South Brings Street and Weld County Road 5.  There is no estimate for reopening.

Motorists are advised to avoid these areas and use extreme caution.

The Erie Community Center has also been closed due to a power outage in the area. All Parks & Recreation programs have been cancelled for the evening.

In Niwot, water 9 to 12 inches deep and 50 feet wide was running over the intersection of 95th Street and Lookout Road.

Just after 9 p.m., Boulder police officers were reporting street flooding in areas of 17th and 18th on the Hill, Baseline and Foothills, 28th Street, and more. 

Boulder and Larimer County officials are keeping a close watch on burn areas for possible mudslides.

U.S. Highway 14 from Ted's Place to Walden was closed just after 10 p.m. due to adverse conditions including water,mud and rocks. The highway is expected to be closed overnight.

Larimer Coutny Emergency Services reported 4 inches of water on U.S. Highway 287 near mile marker 387. Heavy rains were also reported in Bonner Peak area.

At 9:45 p.m., U.S. Highway 24 was closed in El Paso County between Cave of the Winds and Cacade, due to a Flash Flood Warning for the area.  CDOT had previously said it would close the highway whenever a flash flood warning was issued.

On the Western Slope, U.S. Highway 6 was closed in both directions 5 miles east of Edwards because of a mudslide.  There is no estimate for reopening the highway, according to CDOT.