WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has approved federal disaster assistance for areas affected by massive flooding along Colorado's Front Range mountains.
Obama approved the aid Thursday night, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the disaster relief effort in Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties.
Heavy rains that began Wednesday night resulted in widespread flash flooding throughout the day Thursday. Two people were killed in Boulder County, where one other person is also missing. A third death was discovered in Colorado Springs.
Governor John Hickenlooper signed a disaster declaration Thursday morning.
"This could easily be a 50 or 100-year-flood," the governor said.
National Guard resources activated for Boulder County Thursday included 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.
In the Boulder County town of Lyons, which was cut off by flood waters Thursday, National Guard trucks began bringing a handful of evacuees out at approximately 7 p.m. One was a woman in a wheelchair.
Ambulances were waiting to transport those who needed medical attention and additional trucks are prepared to head back to the isolated town.