Last spring’s flooding changed the landscape of the Clark Fork River to the point where the flood stage level has been reduced by nearly three feet.

Director of Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management, Adriane Beck, provides details of the adjustment.

“During the flood season of 2018 we made several observations as to the river changing, really, changing flood stage,” said Beck. “What we observe is that water having negative impacts, particularly in the Orchard Homes area at a lower level than was previously identified as flood stage. In consultation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Weather Service, we made the determination to lower that floods stage from 10 feet to seven and a half feet.”

Beck said the impact of that change will affect the homes in that area.

“It’s an indicator of where we anticipate seeing negative impact around homes and street in that Orchard Homes area,” she said. “Where the impacts would begin at 10 feet, they will now begin between seven and a half and eight feet.”

Beck said Missoula County is ramping up communication efforts to homeowners in the affected area.

“Seven and a half feet is a pretty common level reached every year or every other year, so with that in mind, Thursday, I’m requesting that the County Commissioners sign an emergency proclamation for flooding,” she said. “That will enable us to start doing some of the preparatory things that we need to do as far as activating our Emergency Operations Center and begin the notification process to those individuals, as well as pill in some of our key stakeholders.”

Beck said there will be an opportunity for area residents to get their questions answered, and tapped the nail again regarding flood insurance.

“We are planning a public meeting for the Orchard Homes area on April 24th in the Hawthorne School gym. With the new flood stage identified, it is likely that we will see some flooding this year, even though we don’t have a significant snow pack. Certainly, anyone who feels that they may be at risk of flooding, it’s never a bad idea to investigate flood insurance. Keep in mind that flood insurance policies come with a 30 day waiting period before they become activated.”

Get more details on the Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management website.