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Colorado Agencies Cautious On Flood Victim Numbers

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A home now on an island in Weld County (credit: CBS)

A home now on an island in Weld County (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s widespread flooding has led to hundreds of missing person reports, but officials say many of those people are calling in safe as phone service is slowly being restored and victims call the Red Cross to strike their names off the list.

Emergency management spokeswoman Micki Trost said Sunday many families have reported loved ones as missing because the loss of phone service in many areas cut off communications.

“The numbers are going up and down because some people are calling in, and others are being reported missing. In many cases, people are being found safe in shelters or in their homes. We won’t have any idea on what the numbers mean until the rain stops,” Trost said.

Weather forecasters said more rain was expected Sunday, and authorities on the Eastern Plains said flooding is expected to continue for several days.

Major cell phone providers had service back up Sunday, and people were being asked to call the Red Cross or check in on an Internet site set up to track the missing. However, many people have been unable to charge their dead cell phone batteries with electricity out in many areas.

Four people have been confirmed dead in the flooding, with two more presumed dead.

Cell service was being restored Sunday in Estes Park, providing people a vital communications link residents there had been without, Larimer County sheriff’s spokesman John Schulz said.

“If we can get phone service restored up there … hopefully we can cut down on the number of people unaccounted for,” Schulz said.

Trost said early reports from disasters often fluctuate wildly.

After a bridge over Interstate 35W collapsed in Minneapolis in 2007, more than 30 people were reported missing hours after the rush-hour crash, raising fears that dozens of people may have perished. The final total was 13 people dead, with more than 100 injured.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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