TODAY   |  September 13, 2013

Deadly Colo. flood forces thousands to leave homes

From Denver to Boulder to Colorado Springs, residents are evacuating from massive floodwaters that have paralyzed parts of the state, and have massive dams on the verge of breaking. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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>> devastation. new concerns tied to that deadly flooding out in colorado . police calling on thousands more to evacuate overnight. we have joe in boulder. joe, good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt. following a nerve racking evening filled with more blood warnings and evacuations. roads like this are still a common site make it hard to get around throughout the region. so far, at least three people died in colorado and the dangers are not over.

>> overnight sirens in downtown boulder warn residents to move to higher ground as flood waters continue to rise. and in commerce city near denver, a mandatory neighborhood evaluations moet havetivated a dam could break at any time. there's record breaking rainfall. in some spots, nearly a foot in less than two days. flooding roads and cutting off entire communities. in the town of lafayette, three cars plunged into the waters when the creek took out a bridge. rescue crews feared the worse trying to flip an upside down car partially submerged for at least an hour until they hear the man inside pound on the floorboard.

>> never in my 38 year career have i seen something so dramatic that we thought somebody for sure was going to be expired in that car and he survived it. it's quite a miracle.

>> reporter: in boulder's foothills, even higher ground isn't safe with downward surging water and free falling mud which slid into gary chamber's house.

>> we heard a horrendous thundering noise in the mountain. we didn't know which way to run.

>> reporter: last week the tiny creek outside his home was dry and now it's strong enough to chew through his drive way.

>> let's go. water going up to the bridge. we'll be stuck here.

>> reporter: up the road, neighbors grab their cat and flee as the flood waters threaten the drive way and more.

>> the bank is eroding and the house could be in jeopardy.

>> reporter: nature is what brought so many to this area. now it's what's keeping them away.

>> colorado has called in the national guard to help and the president has approved federal disaster assistance. still, you can expect a lot of businesses here to remain closed today including the university of colorado . matt and savannah.