COLORADO (AP) Colorado state officials have cut nearly in half their list of people missing in widespread flooding.
The state's count fell Monday from 1,253 to just 658.
Emergency management officials had predicted the count would drop as communications were restored and people were able to check in with loved ones.
The state had also warned that their count was inexact, and it conflicted at times with reports from the counties hardest-hit by flooding, Larimer and Boulder.
5 people have died and 1 more is presumed dead this morning.
According to the Colorado office of Emergency Management waters have damaged nearly 18,000 homes and destroyed more than 1,500. Those numbers are expected to go up.
Emergency officials also say about 1,000 people in Larimer county are still awaiting rescue.
Helicopter searches and airlifts have resumed in Colorado as the weather cleared and the sun shone over flood-damaged mountain towns.
Ten military helicopters took off from Boulder Municipal Airport late this morning after being grounded most of the morning because of rain and clouds.
Colorado National Guard Lt. James Goff says 19 helicopters are available for search-and-rescue operations.
Crews are searching for pockets of individuals still stranded from flooding that began late last week.
Goff says helicopter crews on Sunday rescued 12 people before the weather halted the flights. Eighty more people were evacuated by ground.
Early reports suggest that at least 30 state highway bridges are destroyed and at least 20 are seriously damaged along the Front Range.
Transportation officials are still assessing the flood damage.
IN ESTES PARK
Gov. John Hickenlooper says 16 or 17 helicopters will resume searching Monday for residents cut off by flood waters.
Speaking on NBC's "Today" show, he said he hopes that a majority of people unaccounted for are "safe and sound." However, he said, authorities expect the death toll to rise.
Four people are confirmed dead and two more missing and presumed dead after their homes were swept away.
Some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 have been damaged, according to an initial estimate by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.
In addition, 11,700 people left their homes, and a total of 1,253 people have not been heard from.
With phone service being restored to some of the areas over the weekend, officials hoped that number would drop as they contacted more stranded people.
The Governor also says Colorado needs to start rebuilding soon after flooding subsides to get people back in their homes and children back to school.
During an interview on KMGH-TV, the governor said Monday some people estimate it will take more than a year to rebuild damaged buildings and roads and he said Colorado does not have that much time.
Hickenlooper says he is bringing in engineers from Vermont who helped get that state back on its feet quickly following Tropical Storm Irene two years ago to help guide Colorado's efforts.
The Colorado National Guard says 15 rescuers, including members of their unit, are stranded in Lyons after they were trapped by flooding on Sunday.
The National Guard said the rescuers are waiting out the flood on higher ground until they can be rescued by helicopters or use their high tactical vehicles to cross a river that is still raging in Lyons, northwest of Boulder.
The National Guard says more than 50 Colorado National Guardsmen, rescuers and civilians were stopped by rising waters that left them cut off during a land evacuation on Sunday. Army helicopters were able to rescue most of them before bad weather halted operations on Sunday.
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