President declares disaster in Colorado

President Barack Obama approved a request from Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado’s congressional delegation for federal disaster assistance related to the flooding in Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties.

“The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency  are authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the designated areas,” a notice to the governor’s office says.

The disaster declaration triggers the release of federal funds to help with emergency protective measures. Additional support may be made available at a later date when damage assessments can be done.

“Unlike typical flash floods in the West, which are characterized by quick, isolated deluges over a specific area, Colorado’s floods resulted from a massive amount of rain over a widespread area,” the state’s delegation wrote in the letter.  “In central Boulder alone, 8 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.  Governor Hickenlooper estimated that Colorado received the equivalent of 100 inches of snow in 24 hours.

“Gov. Hickenlooper has determined that these floods are of sufficient severity and magnitude that additional supplementary federal assistance is necessary in order to support state and local officials in their search and rescue operations, and in their immediate response to this crisis,” the letter said.