ESTES PARK, Colo. (AP) -- Colorado mountain towns cut off for days by massive flooding slowly reopened to reveal cabins toppled, homes ripped from their foundations and everything covered in a thick layer of muck. Anxious home and business owners hurriedly cleaned and cleared what they could salvage as rescuers looked for a break in the weather Monday to resume airlifting those still stranded.
Crews plowed up to a foot of mud left standing along Estes Park's main street after the river coursed through the heart of town late last week.
Emergency officials offered a first glimpse at the scope of the damage. Counties reported some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and about 17,500 damaged, according to an initial estimate released Sunday by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.
State emergency officials reported more than 1,200 people total had not been heard from, but that number already was dropping Monday as Larimer County said it had made contact with hundreds of people previously unaccounted for.
A field of parked cars and trucks sits partially submerged near Greeley, Colo., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, as debris-filled rivers flooded into towns and farms miles from the Rockies. Hundreds of roads, farms and businesses in the area have been damaged or destroyed by the floodwaters. AP / John Wark
Local man Joey Schendel, 19, looks for submerged items while helping neighbors salvage and clean their property in an area inundated after days of flooding, in Hygeine, Colo., Monday Sept. 16, 2013. AP / Brennan Linsley
Dean Beacom works to save his home from a flash flood near 19th Street and Upland Avenue, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Boulder, Colo. The Daily Camera / Jeremy Papasso
Mike Steinpach moves mud out from the basement of Stan McDonald's house damaged by flooding near the corner of Widgeon Dr. and Allen Drive. Longmont, Colo., Sunday Sept. 15, 2013. The Denver Post / Hyoung Chang
A woman walks with her two boys on a day of more heavy rains, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Longmont, Colo. AP / Brennan Linsley
A woman and little girl rush into LifeBridge Church to escape the new rain in Longmont, Colo., on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. The Daily Camera / Cliff Grassmick
Carlos Duron, 3, and his mother, Vilma Maldonado, are evacuees from Longmont, Colo., staying at Mead High School with the Red Cross on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013 in Mead, Colo. The Daily Camera / Cliff Grassmick
Volunteer, Ella Kuhlman, 5, helps sort donations at the evacuation shelter staged at Timberline Church in Fort Collins, Colo., on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. The Coloradoan / Dawn Madura
A woman, who asked not to be identified, carries two children while being evacuated by the Juniper Valley Fire Crew on Saturday, Sept. 14, on Olde Stage Road in Boulder, Colo,. The Daily Camera / Jeremy Papasso
Flood evacuees hug at a drop off point for those rescued after days of flooding, at a high school in Niwot, Colo., Saturday Sept. 14, 2013. AP / Brennan Linsley
A resident watches a boat float down the center of the street in Longmont, Colo., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. AP / Chris Schneider
Brian Montgomery helps his mother Barbara Yanari to clean up the mud in her flooded basement on Saturday, Sept. 14, on Olde Stage Road in Boulder, Colo. The Daily Camera / JEREMY PAPASSO
A tractors sits partially submerged in a farm field after flooding along the South Platte River in Weld County, Colorado near Greeley, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. AP / John Wark
A road crew works on a stretch of highway washed out by flooding along the South Platte River in Weld County, Colorado near Greeley, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. AP / John Wark
A section of highway is washed out by flooding along the South Platte River in Weld County, Colorado near Greeley, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. AP / John Wark
A residential neighborhood and a connecting road in Lyons, Colo., are cut in two by flood waters as flooding continues to devastate the Front Range and thousands are forced to evacuate with an unconfirmed number of structures destroyed Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. AP / John Wark
Homes in residential neighborhood in Longmont, Colo., are submerged as flooding continues to devastate the Front Range Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. AP / John Wark
This aerial photo shows a raging waterfall destroying a bridge along Highway 34 toward Estes Park, Colo. as flooding continues to devastate the Front Range Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Colorado Heli-Ops / Dennis Pierce
Cattle find dry ground near Fort Collins, Colo., as flooding continues to devastate the Front Range on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. Colorado Heli-Ops / Dennis Pierce
Vehicles damaged by flood waters sit on a street in Lyons, Colo. on Friday Sept. 13, 2013. AP / Kenneth Wajda
Steven Phillips, left, his wife, Tila Duhaime, and his son, Wiley Phillips, left, in the wheelbarrow, with his friend, Avery McCluney walk near a flooding Boulder Creek on Friday Sept. 13, 2013 in Boulder, Colo. The Daily Camera / CLIFF GRASSMICK
Will Pitner is rescued by emergency workers, and neighbor Jeff Writer, left, after a night trapped sheltering outside on high ground above his home as it filled with water from a surge of water, after days of record rain and flooding, at the base of Boulder Canyon, Colo., Friday Sept. 13, 2013 in Boulder. AP / Brennan Linsley
Local residents Holly Rob, right, and her neighbor and friend Pam Bowers hug after a day salvaging Rob's belongings after floods destroyed Rob's home, in Lyons, Colo., Friday Sept. 13, 2013. AP / Brennan Linsley
The Summit County Rescue team works to save Suzanne Sophocles,t center, from her severely flooded home Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 in Boulder, Colo. The Daily Camera / Jeremy Papasso
Dave Jackson closes a mailbox with his foot after delivering the mail to a home surrounded on three sides by a flooded Cheyenne Creek Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Gazette / Michael Ciaglo
Local resident Sanya Tuttle recovers parts of her home from debris after floods left homes and infrastructure in a shambles in Lyons, Colo., Friday Sept. 13, 2013. AP / Brennan Linsley
Local residents look over a road washed out by a torrent of water following overnight flash flooding near Left Hand Canyon, south of Lyons, Colo., Thursday, Sept 12, 2013. AP / Brennan Linsley
Manitou Springs, Colo., resident John Shada takes a photo as a geyser of floodwater shoots out of a sewer on Canon Avenue, as storms continue to dump rain over the Waldo Canyon burn scar on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Colorado Springs Gazette / Michael Ciaglo
Officials investigate the scene of a road collapse at Highway 287 and Dillon at the Broomfield/ Lafayette border, Colo., that sent three vehicles into the water after flash flooding on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. The Daily Camera / Cliff Grassmick