By Matt Hamilton
9:46 PM EDT, September 13, 2013
The death toll from Colorado’s record flooding rose to four Friday as local, state and federal officials coordinated resources to evacuate thousands from stranded towns and homes, officials said.
The fourth death was confirmed by officials from the Boulder County Sheriff's Department who located the body of an unidentified woman swept away in floodwaters earlier in the week as she tried to get out of her car.
The dead body of a male passenger in the car had already been recovered, said Cmdr. Heidi Prentup, a department spokeswoman.
Also in Boulder County, a collapsed home in Jamestown killed one person, but flooding prevented officials from immediately recovering the body, Prentup said.
In Colorado Springs, the body of a 54-year-old man killed in Fountain Creek was recovered this week, officials said.
Rescue crews benefited from favorable weather conditions. Clearer skies allowed the National Guard -- which has deployed more than 375 troops across the state -- to send out five helicopter crews, said National Guard officials.
Helicopter crews are also performing reconnaissance, scouting out the damage, searching for those stranded in their homes or on their roofs and transporting them to safety, Prentup said.
As of Friday night, National Guard air and ground crews had rescued more than 550 people, according to an official statement. But thousands more -- in towns including Lyons, Longmont and Jamestown -- still needed to be evacuated, officials said.
Many of the air rescue missions targeted Jamestown, a town of fewer than 300 residents northwest of Boulder that was left isolated when flooding washed away sections of the primary access road, Prentup said.
Those airlifted from Jamestown were being taken to the Boulder Municipal Airport, said National Guard public affairs officer Capt. Darin Overstreet.
Army helicopter crews from Ft. Carson will assist search-and-rescue missions.
More than 15 inches of rain have fallen this week on the Front Range, the most populous part of the state that includes Denver, Aurora and Boulder, according to the National Weather Service.
Forecasters said that heavy rainfall was expected Friday night and may prolong the flooding in towns in the Front Range. A flood warning for counties in northeast and central Colorado was extended until 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
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