Denver archbishop offers prayers, support to flood victims

Motorists attempt to drive through downtown Boulder after three days of heavy rainfall Sept 12 2013 in Boulder CO Credit Dana Romanoff Getty Images News Getty Images CNA Motorists attempt to drive through downtown Boulder after three days of heavy rainfall Sept. 12, 2013 in Boulder, CO. | Dana Romanoff, Getty Images News/Getty Images.

As deadly flash flooding devastates the Colorado Front Range, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver has asked for prayers for and offered assistance to those in the path of flood waters.

"I am praying for the souls of those victims, for their families and all people who are being affected by the flooding. I ask all people of good will to join me in prayer," he said in a Sept. 12 statement.

Archbishop Aquila said he "heard with great concern" about the flooding and is especially concerned about the three people who have been killed.

"Through the local parishes in the affected areas, Catholic Charities stands ready to assist those in need," he added.

As much as 14 inches of rain – the annual average rainfall in some parts of the state – has fallen in as little as 48 hours.

Thousands of Coloradans have been evacuated from their homes as the flooding has collapsed buildings and washed out roads. The city of Lyons has become isolated and required assistance from the National Guard to evacuate the area.

Colorado State University in Ft. Collins and University of Colorado in Boulder have canceled classes, as flooding has made much of both campuses – which are over 50 miles from one another – impassable.

In the cities of Aurora, Thornton and Boulder, heavy rains during rush hour made for a dangerous commute and major traffic delays.

Flash flooding has been especially devastating in areas that were hit by recent wildfires where there is no vegetation to slow the rainfall.

Governor John Hickenlooper signed a disaster declaration on Sept. 12 saying, "This could easily be a 50 or 100-year-flood."

President Barack Obama approved federal disaster funding which will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in Boulder, Larimer and El Paso counties.

Weekend forecasts call for a break in the rain, though a flash flood watch for the Front Range remains in effect until 9 p.m. on Sept. 13.

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