Drenched Colorado is staring down the possibility of four more inches of rain today, having already absorbed 15 inches amid devastating floods, and officials are now telling residents to get out while they can—or face weeks without power and running water. "We're not trying to force anyone from their home," says Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle. "But we're trying to be very factual and definitive about the consequences of their decision, and we hope that they will come down." At least four have died in the flooding, but some 500 are unaccounted for; officials emphasize that that number includes people who just haven't been in contact with relatives, reports CNN.
"I was thinking about staying. I could have lasted at least a year," says one teacher sitting in a shelter, who tells the AP that many of his neighbors "right by the river, their houses were washed away. It's just really devastating." Adds his wife: "They said they wouldn't force you, but it was strongly encouraged," to leave. President Obama last night declared Boulder County a disaster area, which frees up federal funds; other counties may be added to the list. The AP notes that as of last night some 1,750 people had been evacuated from Boulder and Larimer County.