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story.lead_photo.caption This photo provided by the Wyoming Highway Patrol shows a portion of a bridge over railroad tracks on the north side of the small eastern Wyoming town of Lusk that was collapsed by flash flood waters early Thursday. June 4, 2015. Up to 6 inches of rain fell in the area overnight Wednesday and early Thursday, forcing some residents to leave their homes and causing damage to area highways.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A freak thunderstorm Wednesday night dumped up to 6 inches of rain and inundated a tiny Wyoming town, collapsing a bridge, damaging homes and businesses, and sending about a dozen people to higher ground.

Another thunderstorm dumped more rain on the flooded area Thursday afternoon before Gov. Matt Mead was scheduled to arrive to tour the damage.

In Lusk, population 1,500, floodwaters rushed down Main Street, swamping four blocks and shutting down the town's water supply, said Niobrara County Emergency Management Coordinator James Santistevan.

There were no reports of anyone being hurt, he said.

Emergency responders brought in drinking water as crews worked to restore wells that supply Lusk's water system, he said.

Plus, road closures on Thursday cut off in all directions the town along a normally tiny Niobrara River.

"We got a lot of debris, lot of damage," said Santistevan, who could not estimate how many homes or businesses were damaged.

Officials later opened one highway into Lusk to local traffic only. About a dozen state National Guard members were sent to the area, and the Red Cross opened a shelter for about a dozen displaced residents.

The storm stalled over the area around 9 p.m. Wednesday and didn't relent until after midnight. In just one night, the area got one-third as much moisture as it typically gets all year.

The flooding caused a highway bridge to crumble onto some railroad tracks below just north of downtown.

The storm was among several that hammered eastern Wyoming and the Colorado Front Range on Wednesday night and early Thursday.

Lusk is about 250 miles north of Denver and the seat of Niobrara County, the least populated county in the least populated state.

A Section on 06/05/2015

Print Headline: Thunderstorm inundates Wyoming town

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