Adriane Beck, Director of the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management told KGVO News on Tuesday that officials are gearing up for the Clark Fork River to exceed its banks sometime this week.

“It's springtime in Montana, which means that flooding is always on our radar,” said Beck. “We've skated thus far throughout the year with minimal rain and not as much snowpack as we traditionally have, but the recent rains and some forecasts for warmer temperatures coming into our area has caused us to start to pay attention to the hydrograph, specifically the gauge above Missoula on the Clark Fork River as it is a pretty good indicator of where we will see negative impacts from flooding should it exceed that flood stage.”

Beck provided more specific information regarding expected flood conditions.

“So right now, we're monitoring that and we're in constant consultation with the National Weather Service as that graph changes based on what unfolds, but right now we're expecting that we will cross over the flood stage for the Clark Fork sometime on Thursday, possibly as early as Thursday morning,” she said. “Right now what is predicted will be a very slow descent off of that flood stage, and so we're asking that folks in the area pay attention to those changing conditions and take the necessary preparations now to protect their property.”

Beck provided important safety information.

“We always encourage people to not drive through flood water and not to walk through flood waters,” she said. The ground underneath oftentimes is changing and shifting under those flood conditions, and then those folks that do experience water coming out of the banks onto their property can certainly protect their property with sandbags.”

Beck said sand and sandbags are available at no charge to Missoula County residents.

“There is a self-serve sandbag station located at Fort Missoula in the same location that it's been for the past several years,” she said. “Obviously we're encouraging folks that need access to that to go ahead and help themselves. Most of the sandbags are kind of a one time use. They're a burlap style that after they've been inundated with floodwater begin to deteriorate and don't hold up well to sun damage so they really are kind of a one and done type of thing.”

Flood stage for the Clark Fork is 7.5 feet and the river is expected to top out at a little over 8 feet later this week.

Get details on river levels and more flood information here.

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