Three dead, thousands flee as floods rage in Colorado

Rare torrentialdownpours unleashed flash flooding in Colorado that killed atleast three people, left one missing and forced thousands toflee to higher ground on Thursday as rising water toppledbuildings and stranded motorists, officials said.

The unusually heavy late-summer rains drenched Colorado'sbiggest urban centers, stretching 130 miles (210 km) along theeastern slopes of the Rockies from Fort Collins near the Wyomingborder south through Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs.

"There is water everywhere," said Andrew Barth, emergencymanagement spokesman in Boulder County, which bore the brunt oftropical-like rains one meteorologist called unprecedented."We've had several structural collapses. There's mud and muckand debris everywhere. Cars are stranded all over the place."

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