It’s come down to this: Of the 1,200 people unaccounted for after historic floods deluged Colorado this month, only six remained missing as of Monday.
That number plunged over the weekend as rescue crews continued to pick through the isolated mountain communities of Larimer County, according to sheriff’s spokesman John Schulz.
“This is a dynamic list,” Schulz told the Los Angeles Times in a Monday phone interview. “We hope additional [people] will come off, we anticipate additional people will be put on.”
On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Colorado and met with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to tour flood-stressed areas. Officials also announced that they had recovered the body of the disaster’s eighth confirmed victim, a 79-year-old woman, according to the Associated Press.
Larimer County was hit particularly hard by the disaster’s most worrisome aftereffects, with mountain floods knocking out crucial access roads that connected faraway residents to food and safety. Officials made 16 more rescues in Larimer County over the weekend.
But it is in Larimer County too where scores of residents have chosen to stay behind on their property, declining to be evacuated by helicopter even as officials urged them to leave. Most of the names on the unaccounted for list were Larimer County hold-outs, Schulz said, “people that are back in the mountain areas [who] might not have any phone service, that kind of thing.”
Now residents want to get back to their isolated properties, though not necessarily to stay.
“In this area in particular, people are worried about getting back in their home to winterize it,” Schulz said. “We had snow here in the mountains last night. Winter is fast approaching.”
Last week, Hickenlooper had set the fuzzy goal of trying to fix as much of the state’s partially ruined interstate system as possible by Dec. 1, framing the flood recovery as a race against the onset of winter.