HYGIENE, Colo. (AP) — The rains have finally stopped in Colorado.

The clearing skies and receding waters allowed crews to intensify their search efforts Monday and assess the damage. Twenty-one helicopters fanned out over the mountainsides and the plains to drop supplies and airlift those who needed help.

State officials say the disaster has killed as many as eight people.

Hundreds remain unaccounted for, but that number has been decreasing. The state's count dropped yesterday from more than 1,200 to about half that. Officials hoped the number of missing will continue declining as rescuers locate more people and those cut off from phone or Internet communications finally get in touch with families.

The improved weather has allowed some flood evacuees to return home. Many are finding their houses destroyed and are coming to the realization that rebuilding will take months.