Nightly News   |  March 15, 2014

Melting Record Snow Pack Threatens Montana

The flooding from the rivers may be receding, but the warmer temperatures and snow pack make for a worrisome spring.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> if it seems like a long winter, well, this spring could feel even longer as parts of the west prepare for what may be a very bad flood season as all that snow starts to melt. this week in central montana , flooding stranded hundreds of people and the risk remains high for even more. our report tonight from nbc's joe fryer.

>> reporter: when it comes to cleaning up after a massive flood, the town of roundup, montana, population 1800 has far too much practice.

>> well, we have two and a half feet.

>> reporter: jeff gates is once again overseeing the recovery after 450 people were stranded in their homes.

>> it is very frustrating for people on the other side. and they can see things going on, they want it to happen faster, and we're going as fast as we can.

>> reporter: the flood waters took out two dykes, including the one i'm standing on. the race is on to fix it quickly in case the river rises again, while the river is receding it could easily swell again as the snowpack melts, others close their doors to customers.

>> it is frustrating because we really haven't finished dealing with 2011 .

>> reporter: that year, a massive flood put busy bee out of business for 20 months and destroyed several homes. then in 2012 , a wildfire ate four more homes. just in one year, the county lost 60% of its housing.

>> losing due to flood or fire.

>> reporter: with this latest scene coming into spring, shops weigh the risks of reopening.

>> the town loving my coffee, what do you do? hurry up and get back.

>> reporter: many seek answers from jeff gates.

>> if it were me i would open back up. but have everything on wheels just in case.

>> reporter: a new reality for a battered town that is begging for a break, joe fryer, nbc news, roundup, you've tried