A Closer Look At Flooding & Responses Throughout Montana
Cooler temperatures mixed with rain continue to add high river levels throughout Montana. Temperatures will be cooler this week right through the holiday weekend with two significant rain events expected. According to National Weather Service predictions, the Clark Fork River, above Missoula, could rise above flood stage, while the Blackfoot River near Bonner will see a large increase in flows with the potential to rise above flood stage. Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Ray Nickless says there is a flood warning for the Clark Fork River in effect until further notice and to expect flooding depending on the rainfall.
Nickless says the area that would be most affected is past Reserve Street in the Orchard Homes area closer to the river. As of 1:00 p.m. Monday the Clark Fork river stage was 9.4 feet, the flood stage is 10.0 feet. As far as flooding throughout Montana the immediate areas of concern continue to be the Stillwater River near Kalispell and the Yaak River near Troy where a Flood warning is currently in effect.
In response to the growing number of residents displaced from homes due to flooding in the Yellowstone, Treasure and Big Horn counties, The Montana Red Cross have relocated shelters three times to accommodate those in need. Public Affairs for the Montana Red Cross of Montana, Lori Grannis says the final shelter is at the Billings Campus at 1500 University Drive.
With the closure of I-90 below Hardin, the town of Lodge Grass is inaccessible due to the flooding of Lodge Grass Creek. Grannis says the new shelter will offer a space for those residents once the area has cleared.
Besides the stretch of Interstate 90 between Hardin and Ranchester, Wyoming, authorities said many other roads in more rural areas were also closed and some flooded and other bridges have been damaged.
Congressman, Denny Rehberg, has taken action to prepare the state and counties for the possibility of federal assistance in the wake of severe flooding in eastern Montana. Rehberg sent a letter to Governor Schweitzer offering any assistance necessary to help coordinate a seamless response between the different local, county, tribal, state and federal agencies involved. He also sent a letter to Montana County Commissioners offering assistance and explaining what steps must be taken at a county level to expedite a federal emergency response.
Senator Jon Tester has asked Agriculture Secretary and Federal Emergency Management Agency to open up resources in response to the flooding throughout Montana.
Senator Tester’s office can be reached toll-free at 866-554-4403.