The creek is usually “just a trickle,” said nearby resident Carm Say. “You can walk across it and have fun. Now, as you can see, it’s hitting houses.”
In Broomfield, U.S. Highway 287 collapsed when a culvert washed out, dumping three vehicles into the rushing water. Three people with minor injuries were rescued.
At least one earthen dam gave way southeast of Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and water levels could rise downstream as authorities release more water to keep more dams from giving way.
Flash flood warnings were issued for multiple counties. Downstream farming areas including Fort Lupton, Dacono and Plateville were also at risk as debris piled up near bridges.
In rural Morgan County, authorities urged ranchers to move cattle to higher ground as the mountain rains emptied onto the plains.
Rain showers and thunderstorms were expected through the night, with some storms capable of dumping an inch of water in 30 minutes, the weather service warned.
Associated Press writers Steven K. Paulson and Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed to this report.