The numbers are constantly changing when it comes to the devastating floods in Colorado -- and unfortunately, the latest alteration involves an increase of the fatality total in both Boulder County and the state as a whole. The Boulder Office of Emergency Management has confirmed the death of Gerald Boland, eighty, a retired teacher whose story was told last night as part of Disaster in the Rockies, a Weather Channel special that generally exploited the ecological tragedy rather than shedding light on it. Videos and more below.
Here are the latest figures from the BOEM:
• 0 missing people; this number may fluctuate as more members of the public call to check on loved ones
• 4 confirmed fatalities
• Damaged Residences: 557
• Damaged Commercial: 33
• Residences destroyed: 345
• Commercial properties destroyed: 3
• Total sites evaluated: 5,592
The Colorado Office of Emergency Management notes that the fourth Boulder County casualty brings the statewide sum to seven; officially, there were two deaths in El Paso County and one in Clear Creek County. But the number of people still missing has gone way down: COEM puts the estimate at 143, and it's probably even lower, since that figure includes four still said to have been missing in Boulder that the BOEM no longer counts.
The evacuation total is calculated at 5,350, and the amount of land effected is a staggering 1,918 square miles.
As noted by 9News, Boland taught at Lyons Elementary School for decades -- and the Weather Channel special pointed out that many of his former students took part in the search for him. He'd gotten separated from his wife en route to a shelter, and while she was plucked from the waters by a front loader in footage that's been widely screened across the country, he could not be saved.
Disaster in the Rockies was completed before the sad ending of this story was written, but it certainly took advantage of every other opportunity to turn the emotional screws, using dramatic music and wallowing in visual misery for the better part of its hour-long running time before tossing in some perfunctory comments about the community's resilience at the end. The results were unfortunate but hardly surprising: Expect to see more national coverage like this as we move from the immediacy of the flooding to the long, slow path toward recovery.
Look below to see the 9News piece about Boland, followed by several Weather Channel clips about the flooding -- the first typical of Disaster in the Rockies, the rest generally more straightforward.
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More from our News archive circa Monday: "Videos: Five fatalities, 1,253 missing, 11,750 evacuated in Colorado flooding."