Nightly News   |  September 17, 2013

One rescue after another as Colorado struggles to recover

The devastating floods have left residents living in shelters, and officials worrying about water-borne illnesses. With winter approaching, it will be a long road ahead to fix all of the bridges and roads across the state. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.

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>>> getting our first look at some of the places cut off entirely from the rest of the world as the search for hundreds of people still missing continues. our national correspondent, kate snow , is in boulder, colorado , again for us tonight. kate, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian, the rescue missions continue tonight throughout colorado and so many places. and for so many, this is the reality as they clean up the water-logged belongings, as they realize how much they lost. as the water recedes, the scope of the damage left behind is hard to overstate. just look at the broken roads, the debris, nearly a week in there are still people who need help. these women put out a white cross to draw an army helicopter to them. the latest in a long line of rescues.

>> got nowhere else to go.

>> reporter: these two are now living at life bridge christian church in longmont. they had just gotten back into their home after a forest fire .

>> i know it washed out the road all the way down. i was six miles up that canyon. so how long can it take, you know, to repair to road?

>> there has been story after story after story of people who just struggled to get here, and then when they get here just almost that collapse of -- that i'm safe. that it will be okay. and it is not going to wash away.

>> cross the bridge over.

>> reporter: all across colorado , fema is trying to assess the damage. in boulder, the cleanup continues, mud and water ruined this lower level. so this was just the water line ?

>> this is the water line , the high mark there is about five feet.

>> reporter: in evans, the smell is more powerful than the pictures. health officials warn people not to even touch the water, worried about water-borne illnesses, and contaminating illnesses.

>> reporter: many families were devastated. this family moved more than 200 cows to higher ground, but still estimate the flooding and loss of businesses will cost them hundreds of thousands. with winter coming it will likely be at least a year before 50 bridges across the state are repaired. a long road ahead to fix all the broken roads. kate snow , nbc news, boulder, colorado .