4th of July was a hail of a day

The junction between the Red Lodge Carnegie Library

and the Bank of Red Lodge.

What a day to remember. A Red Lodge 4th of July filled one minute with blue skies, a flypast, magnificent floats and costumes and a record-breaking rodeo event and then the next minute deluged in torrential rain that was akin to a thousands clouds being wrung out in 30 seconds. Flash flood warnings popped up on TVs, cell phones and radios and the advent of the celebratory fire works were looking decidedly damp as water damage did its worst. Roads in Red Lodge turned into rivers and marble-sized hailstones made it impossible to walk unless you were some professional ice skater. At the rodeo grounds the bulls and the horses and the riders played on despite the appearance of muddy waters. In the aftermath of the two-hour onslaught that boomeranged around again later on with a markedly diminished display, homeowners and businesses around Red Lodge found themselves with flooded basements and damaged toilets. Nancy Wester of PDQ had a list of about half a dozen homes and businesses in Red Lodge needing repairs, including homes in Tipi Village, the library and Alcott Funeral Home. "Mike (her husband) is going down the list, but we are telling people to call Billings for cleaning and restoration services," she said. “And have been working on extracting the water from basements, picking up furniture, putting on fans and trying to dry out the water damage as fast as possible. The sooner the better and the less damage done." Mike confirmed as much about the storm. “The flash flood caused a majority of water damage to basements of homes and businesses. Everybody has a different story about their water, but we see most of the damage in the basements. The amount of water from the flood was greater than the city storm system could handle," Wester said. Due to the sheer number of requests for restoration and repair, Wester suggests those with water damage to seek help from friends, family and other restoration firms as soon as possible. "The number of people affected is so great and we're limited by manpower and equipment. I've had to tell some people to call firms in Billings," he said. Since the major storm PDQ has serviced approximately a dozen infrastructures. "We extract the water with carpet cleaning units, check for wall damage, set up drying equipment fans and in some cases remove the sheet rock,” said Mike. For many people who have second homes in Red Lodge, Wester anticipates receiving more calls about water damage upon their return. "This was a freak thunder storm so as time goes on, out of town homeowners may discover they have damage and may have to have someone look at it," he said. Despite the frequent rains following the major storm, Wester has not seen any new major incidences of flooding.