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Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 5:50:51 AM
Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 5:51:39 AM
DENVER (Reuters) - The likely death toll from Colorado flooding caused by torrential rains rose to nine on Thursday, after a 46-year-old man whose home was washed away was listed as missing and presumed dead, authorities said.
The man's house was in Drake, a community 17 miles (27 km) southwest of Fort Collins, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. No further details were available.
Massive floods caused by heavy and persistent rains that began on September 9 in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains have destroyed at least 1,700 homes in the two hardest-hit Colorado counties of Larimer and Boulder, according to the latest tally.
The disaster has forced thousands of people from their homes and caused property losses estimated at nearly $2 billion, about half from housing and half from commercial and government sectors, according to catastrophe modelling firm Eqecat.
Six people are confirmed dead in Colorado, according to the state Office of Emergency Management. But another three people in Larimer County, north of Denver, are listed as missing and presumed dead, according to the county sheriff's office.
A total of 143 people in the state remain unaccounted for, according to figures from the website of the state Office of Emergency Management.
That is down from a high of about 1,200 several days ago, a decrease that occurred as families reunited, evacuees registered at shelters and rescuers reached more remote locales. Authorities said it was unclear if there might be more fatalities from among the missing.
"Local agencies made it their No. 1 priority to connect those reported unaccounted for with their families," said Micki Trost, spokeswoman for the state Office of Emergency Management.
(The story corrects number unaccounted for in paragraph 6 to 143, not 139 as sent earlier, and changes attribution)
(Reporting by Keith Coffman, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Cynthia Osterman)
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