Colorado has been hit by flooding that was described as 'biblical' by the local weather service on Thursday.

As storm drains were overwhelmed by the downpour, pressure in the underground water system caused a manhole cover to blow off in Manitou Springs.

Amateur footage shows a fountain of black muddy water surging up to seven feet from the sewer system on Canon Avenue.

At least three people have been killed and and thousands of forced from their homes across the mountainous state, where floods have been exacerbated by wildfire "burn scars".

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration on Thursday night, freeing federal aid and allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts.