The National Weather Service has inspected the areas in the Orchard Homes area near the Clark Fork River and found that the river has overflowed its banks and affected streets and property in the area.

Chief Hydrologist Ray Nickless said he visited the area at about 8:30 a.m. on Monday.

“Going down there this morning, sure enough, water is coming across the open space area that the city owns and is now coming onto Kehrwald Street,” said Nickless. “It’s not a tremendous amount of water, but the river water is flowing down a section of Kehrwald Street as we speak. Residents were driving through the water and others were sandbagging the area, while the water was flowing around it. I don’t know of any homes that have water in them yet, right now there’s only one that might be affected.”

Nickless said the worst is over for Monday as the river has crested, however the problem will be even worse as remaining snow pack in the mountains enters the Clark Fork River.

“Unfortunately, we still have a lot of runoff season to go and I expect the river height to exceed what it’s already done here today, probably sometime in May,” he said. “Right now, we’re forecasting the snow melt that’s still left up in the mountains, and any rain events we get, that we’ll be in that eight to 10 foot range as we go into the May time frame, and that’ll put a foot or more of water coming down Kehrwald Drive.”

Nickless said there may be from five to 10 homes in that area that could face flooding as the river rises to nearly 10 feet later in the spring.

A public meeting is planned for Wednesday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m. at Hawthorne School on South Third Street West for residents to receive updates from county officials and get information about supplies such as sandbags and sand if they are necessary.

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