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Colorado floodwaters cover area the size of Connecticut

Flooding in Colorado is forcing thousands to evacuate. At least four people have died, and 170 are missing. Flooding forced the closure of Rocky Mountain National Park.

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A residential neighborhood and a connecting road in Lyons, Colo., are cut in two by flood waters as flooding continues to devastate the Front Range and thousands are forced to evacuate with an unconfirmed number of structures destroyed Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.

(AP Photo/John Wark)

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By air and by land, the rescue of hundreds of Coloradoans stranded by epic mountain flooding accelerated Saturday as debris-filled rivers became muddy seas that extended into towns and farms miles from the Rockies.

Helicopters and hundreds of National Guard troops searched miles of mountainous terrain for people as food and water supplies ran low in remote communities cut off since Thursday. Thousands were being driven from their homes in convoys.

For the first time since the harrowing floods began Wednesday, Colorado got its first broad view of the devastation. Floodwaters have affected parts of a 4,500-square-mile (11,655-square-kilometer) area — an area the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut.

A woman was missing and presumed dead after witnesses saw floodwaters from the Big Thompson River destroy her home in the Cedar Cove area, Larimer County sheriff's spokesman John Schulz said.

"We're sure there are going to be additional homes that have been destroyed, but we won't know that for a while," Schulz said. "I expect that we're going to continue to receive reports of confirmed missing and confirmed fatalities throughout the next several days."

Four people have been confirmed dead since the harrowing floods began Wednesday. More than 170 people remained unaccounted for in Boulder County, but that number could include people who are still stranded or who escaped but have not made contact yet, said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.

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