LYONS, Colo. — Coloradans who ventured back into the flood-ravaged town of Lyons found scenes of stomach-turning destruction, with dozens of homes destroyed, family keepsakes missing, food spoiling and mud everywhere.
“It’s just sickening,” said Gloria Simpson, whose family salvaged some of her grandmother’s handmade quilts Thursday from her 81-year-old father’s home. They found some family photos, but others were nowhere to be found.
Up and down Colorado’s Front Range, the number of dead rose to seven, with three others missing and presumed dead. But the number of unaccounted-for people dropped to about 140, thanks to rescues and restored communications.
Rescue operations tapered off and the state began to turn its attention to finding homes for the displaced, restoring basic services and figuring out how to repair hundreds of miles of roads and dozens of bridges.
“Right now we’re just moving from the life-saving mode to the life-sustaining mode,” said Kevin Kline, director of the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Kline said it was too early to estimate the dollar damage but added, “It’s going to be big.”
The damage spans 17 counties and nearly 2,000 square miles.