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Flood Fears Rising in Colorado

June 02, 2003|From Associated Press

VAIL, Colo. — More than 400 residents were ordered to evacuate Sunday as heavy spring runoff and rain increased fears of mudslides and sent a creek over its banks. High water also created a large sinkhole that forced the closure of the major east-west highway across Colorado.

Crews tried to divert water to other creeks while Vail police went door-to-door ordering residents to leave their homes, city spokeswoman Jamie Wilson said.

"It's too dangerous to let anybody in there," she said.

No injuries were reported, and Eagle County sheriff's deputies did not know how many homes had been flooded, spokeswoman Kim Andree said. In the far northern part of the state, a kayaker died Saturday in a swollen river in Larimer County.

A 25-mile stretch of Interstate 70 was closed in both directions in the Vail area, sending drivers on a 54-mile detour across two mountain passes. The road was expected to remain closed for days. Summer vacation traffic has already begun on the highway.

Gore Creek already was swollen with melting snowpack when a rainstorm sent the water over its banks. More than 700 reverse 911 calls were made to homes along the creek, asking residents to head for higher ground.

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