Floodwaters overwhelm Estes Park; businesses, residents evacuated

Flooding in Estes Park has led to evacuations of homes and businesses, road closures, and power and phone outages, authorities said.

Town board members met at noon Thursday to pass a disaster declaration, according to the town’s Facebook page, following a torrent of rain this week in the region. Rainfall of 2 to 9 inches fell in cities along the Front Range last night through this morning, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a flash flood warning in north central Larimer County that remains in effect until 3:30 p.m.

Estes Park was “overwhelmed” with storm water, though drinking water was safe, a Facebook update said. Evacuations included homes and businesses along Fall River from downtown Estes Park to Rocky Mountain National Park as well as the Big Thompson Canyon.

Trail Ridge Road was the only road with inbound and outbound Estes Park access, town spokeswoman Kate Rusch said. Authorities also closed U.S. 34 between Loveland and Estes Park.

“The majority of downtown businesses and residences are evacuated, and we expect significant damage,” Rusch said in an email sent after she lost cell phone service during an interview. “I do not have a number of evacuees.”

A shelter was established at Mountain View Bible Fellowship Church on Colorado 7 for residents west of U.S. 34 mile marker 74, where the road washed out. Residents east of mile marker 74 can evacuate to the Thompson School District building at 800 S. Taft Ave. in Loveland.

Estes Park’s Light and Power division cut power to customers in the Big Thompson Canyon, Glen Haven and along County Road 43. The town also shut off water to some areas along Fish Creek as a water main is repaired.

A CenturyLink spokesman confirmed a phone outage, but could not immediately say how many customers were affected.

“We do not have an accurate number of customers impacted at this time as our priority is restoring service as quickly as possible,” the spokesman said in an email. “We will inform you when service is restored.”

Rusch added that cell phone and land-line service from other telecoms was intermittent or down.

Authorities also issued a pre-alert for evacuations in the Poudre Canyon north of Fort Collins. Rist Canyon, Livermore, Ted’s Place, Poudre Park, Bellvue and Virginia Dale were expected to see flooding.

Colorado 14 was closed between Ted’s Place and Walden, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

Other Northern Colorado road closures included Colorado 7 between Lyons and Estes Park and U.S. 36 between Lyons and Estes Park. A number of Weld County road closures were in effect, according to the county’s Facebook page.

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