(NBC NEWS) --Finally, a welcome thunder fills the sky over northern Colorado giving rescue choppers clearance to fly during a break in the clouds.

Scanning a washed-out area for more than a thousand people still believed to be stranded by the flood waters.

Early estimates from emergency managers indicate more than 17,000 homes have been damaged with more than 1,500 completely washed away..

"The house just kind of started turning to liquid and started moving around. You could feel it come off the foundation. And the sidewall came out of the house and Florence and I went out through the sidewall," said home owner Mike Horn.

Mike and Florence Horn were swept-away by the flood waters.

"So at that point we were in the dark raging water and separated," Mike said .

Mike grabbed a tree and climbed to a branch where he was spotted by neighbors.

"And then he asked me, he asked me are you married and I said yes I am and he said where is your wife and I said I think she's lost," said Horn.

But he was told Florence was pulled from the water about a quarter of a mile away.

She had suffered cuts, bruises, and a broken leg.

Eventually the couple was airlifted out for a life-saving ride to safety.

Once safely on ground the search was once again on for hundreds of others who hopefully survived the raging flood water.

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