Officials work to lower water, remove flood debris from Estes Park reservoir so it doesn't fail

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - Authorities are concerned about a small reservoir in Estes Park that is jammed with flood debris that could potentially fail if it rains.

Officials on Friday plan to use pumps to lower the water level of the unnamed reservoir that's about 2 acres in size, said Chuck Russell, deputy incident commander for the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team. Workers will then clear debris from the reservoir's spillway and culverts to prevent a dam failure that could impact Highway 7.

Meanwhile, Larimer County officials say 82 people remain unaccounted for and three people remain missing and presumed dead.

During a morning briefing, emergency officials said they are continuing to search for the three people who are presumed dead and also going door-to-door in communities trying to contact those who remain unaccounted for.

Efforts to rebuild a damaged road into the Storm Mountain community have been hampered when heavy equipment became stuck, Russell said. Officials hope to resolve that problem to maintain access to Storm Mountain, where 131 residents have chosen to remain in their homes instead of being evacuated.

Russell lauded the collaboration of residents in flood-damaged communities. He said people are sharing food and water and "doing amazing things for each other."

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