Colorado governor's chopper rescues flood victims, plus a dog and cat

Things have gotten so bad in Colorado that even the governor is rescuing people.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said his helicopter crew stopped to rescue four stranded people, a dog and a cat while he was on his way to a news conference Saturday to brief reporters on the disaster.


Yet hundreds more remained stranded, with the death toll poised to rise as the news Saturday otherwise remained grim. See photos below for the latest look at the damage.

A 60-year-old woman missing after floods overtook much of Colorado this week is expected to become the disaster's fifth fatality, the Larimer County Sheriff's Department said Saturday.

Her death was not yet confirmed, but officials said they thought number of deaths would continue to rise as emergency responders gained access to more areas that have been inundated.

Hundreds of people remained stranded by waters that flooded or wiped out roads, bridges and dams after record rains this week, and 100 people were still unaccounted for in Larimer County, officials told reporters at a Saturday news conference.

Twelve hundred people were still stranded at Pinewood Springs, where officials reported dropping 7,000 MREs -- meals ready-to-eat. The area was expected to be evacuated over the next five days.

An additional 60 residents chose to stay at Big Elk Meadows after officials evacuated 60 people, the Larimer County Sheriff's Department said.

Using helicopters and trucks to navigate around water-damaged areas, the National Guard reported evacuating more than 500 people from mountain communities by Saturday morning, and the work was continuing.

Nearly 300 people were evacuated from Jamestown, one of the towns cut off by the floods. The Guard was trucking people out of Lyons, another mountain area.

The rain began Monday and by Wednesday  had set records.  The National  Weather Service reported as much as 9 to 10 inches of rain falling in many areas -- too much for the already saturated ground to handle.

Heavy rains were expected to resume late Saturday, but forecasts offer some hope for gradual clearing and even sunshine by the beginning of the week.

Pearce and Muskal reported from Los Angeles, and special correspondent Jenny Deam from Longmont, Colo.