Photos Show Why the Colorado Floods Are Being Called ‘Biblical’

Four people in Colorado this week already lost their lives in the record-breaking rains and floods that are battering parts of the state, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

On Friday, Governor John Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency for 14 counties from the Wyoming border to Colorado Springs. President Obama also declared a federal state of emergency for Boulder, Larimer, and El Paso counties, allowing FEMA to deploy four rescue teams to those areas.

This afternoon, Reuters reports that a fifth victim, a 60-year-old woman who was swept away by flood waters, is now missing and presumed dead. 

With no signs of a slow-down, even the comparatively shorter rains expected this weekend are expected to cause further flash-flooding as areas of Colorado's landscape are already well oversaturated.

Unlike other recent flooding disasters in countries like Taiwan and China, Colorado's defies expectation. September tends to be a drier month for the state, reports National Geographic.

Sandra Postel, National Geographic's Freshwater Fellow, tells the magazine that the flooding may be linked to recent droughts, which have hardened the soil of the Colorado River Basin, preventing it from absorbing much of the rainfall. Forest fires may also shoulder some of the blame; a portion of the vegetation normally responsible for trapping rainwater burned to the ground in recent years. 

The most pressing question remains: How much of a hand has global warming played in these events?  Climate Central's Andrew Freedman writes:

"It will take climate scientists many months to complete studies into whether manmade global warming made the Boulder flood more likely to occur, but the amount by which this event has exceeded past events suggests that manmade warming may have played some role by making the event worse than it would have otherwise been."

News and social media outlets are updating pictures regularly. What follows are some of the most striking.

Sprouts Boulder is a disaster. #boulderflood @dailycamera @KDVR

— MikeLaszlo (@themikelaszlo) September 13, 2013

Flooding in Longmont between 9th and Mt. View #longmontflood #boulderflood

— Payton H. Peterson (@PaytonPeterson) September 13, 2013

North Boulder at Lee Hill Drive and 6th St #boulderflood #coflood

— Gus Gutierrez (@gusgutierrez) September 13, 2013

Flood threat still strong as 3 killed in Colo. #poisonedweather #climate #coflood

— Forecast The Facts (@ForecastFacts) September 12, 2013

RT @krystalluvsdrew: Aurora Colorado flood by my work I70 & havanna hotel parking lot

— TWC Breaking (@TWCBreaking) September 12, 2013

Boulder Creek near downtown, completely overflowing its banks. Park bench in foreground. #boulderflood

— Clayton Sandell (@Clayton_Sandell) September 12, 2013

PIC. Photo shows flood water cascading off a pedestrian walkway near the Univ. of Colorado campus. #Breaking

— David Nelson (@DavidNelsonNews) September 12, 2013

LIVE: KDVR helicopter over a horse stuck in flood water in Colorado -

— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) September 13, 2013

#boulderasshats RT @areyoupop: Creek Surfer kicked out by police. #cowx #coflood #boulderflood

— Laura Scott (@lauras) September 13, 2013

Table Mesa in #Boulder last night. #BoulderFlood

— Whitney James (@whitneyljames) September 13, 2013

RT @NWSRiverton: RT @almiller66: Longmont Before/After #Colorado #Boulderflood #COflood #cowx

— The Storm Report (@thestormreport) September 13, 2013

@EneyJones' elderly neighbor's place up the canyon. He's been rescued after 5 hrs of being trapped #boulderflood

— Roberto Mandje (@RobertoMandje) September 13, 2013

Oh man that's bad :( RT @JorgePantalones: RT @DrBradHolland Here's downtown #estespark #boulderflood

— Kat May (@KathleenAMay) September 13, 2013

Day 4 of rain. RT @chrisvanderveen: From a viewer in Lyons. Wow. #9news. #boulderflood

— astandy (@astandy) September 13, 2013

What's left of the street I grew up on #boulderflood

— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) September 12, 2013

Related stories on TakePart:

Deny This, Deniers: Did Colorado Fires Cause First U.S. Climate Refugees?

Colorado—The Disappearing River

Original article from TakePart