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One month later, communities still dealing with aftermath of flood disaster

Red Lodge one month after flooding
Posted at 8:12 AM, Jul 18, 2022

One month after major flooding hit Montana, the water is gone but the constant work to rebuild remains.

It was a devastating scene on June 13 in Red Lodge as water escaped Rock Creek's banks and poured into homes, damaging streets and taking out multiple bridges.

“The sandbags went in front of the house and my car was still, my van was still here, and you could tell the water rising around it,” said Ken Ebel in Red Lodge on Thursday.

The streets of Red Lodge are no longer rivers, but the work being done remains in progress. The 9th Street bridge was one that was wiped out during the massive flooding. Now being worked on tirelessly by construction crews that started work the moment the water receded.

“All of 212 is open, you can see some damage and there’s some gravel kind of still across the road. But they’ve got that open. All the side streets they were able to open, that weren’t destroyed have been open… a lot of work’s been done,” said Jodon Phillips of Red Lodge.

As the work in Red Lodge to rebuild continues, so does the work in many other towns that were hit by the flooding. The Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River flooded many homes along the valley and took over the east side of town in Fromberg.

“The town of Fromberg is an extremely poor town. We don’t have the funding to do a lot,” Said Tim Nottingham, mayor of Fromberg

Many homes in Fromberg still have groundwater filling up their basements and yards are still piled with damaged belongings. Shala Cullum has been helping daily at the relief center in Fromberg, now located at the Methodist church.

“We have a lady that comes in almost every day who, her voice is starting to be impacted by the mold that’s in her home,” Cullum said.

The scene at Riverside Park in Laurel is another drastic difference one month later. Last month the Yellowstone River was rushing at high speeds and the campground was evacuated. Now the river has lowered and recreation continues again.

As emotional as the last month has been for the towns and people affected by the flooding, one common theme remains throughout the towns.

It was really, really inspiring to see the people come together,” Phillips said.

“This town has pulled together,” said Nottingham.

Neighbors continuously helping neighbors and Montana communities staying strong throughout such an unimaginable occurrence.