Fell warned the fleeing residents that once they left they would not be permitted back in. Just past the trees, the St. Vrain River churned out of its banks, flooding pastureland and lapping at railroad tracks.
Fell said it was more chaotic Friday than Thursday as people once trapped were finding a way out. But getting where they were going was another story.
“Where you headed?” he asked. Greeley, Castle Rock, Longmont came the litany of responses. Fell paused and tried to find routes still open. All across the region, access was cut off by floodwaters, turning a normal grid system into a game of hopscotch that led drivers miles out of their way.
In Longmont, the entire town was divided into two as travel from north to south had become mostly impossible. Nearby Interstate 25 was closed from Erie to the Wyoming border.
“Good luck,” was all the deputy could say as he waved the drivers through.
Deam reported from Longmont and Muskal from Los Angeles.