The recent flooding in the area started about four weeks earlier than in 2011, the year of the last major flood event in Missoula County. With record snowpack above 6,000 feet expected to release around 60 inches of water as temperatures climb, officials predict this spring’s flooding to peak later this month and continue into June. Residents who may be affected by flooding are encouraged to monitor river flow forecasts on the National Weather Service website.
• Current indicators of Clark Fork River above Missoula show flows dipping just below action stage (9.5 feet) over the weekend, followed by a spike in flows next week, likely exceeding the levels experienced this week.
• Current indicators of the Bitterroot River near Missoula show flows below flood stage, followed by a spike next week during which flows will likely reach flood stage (11 feet).
• With river levels predicted to rise again next week, residents who may be affected by flooding are encouraged to prepare their properties over the weekend. Residents can access the Missoula Ready! website for more information on hazard preparation.
• Localized flooding west of Missoula, mainly in the Orchard Homes neighborhood along Tower Street and Kehrwald Drive, has started to recede but is predicted to return next week. Approximately 20 homes in the area have been impacted. The Tower Street trailhead also remains closed until further notice.
• In Seeley Lake, localized flooding has been reported along Airport Road near Deer Park Drive; on C Street and Cabin Lane off the southern end of Boy Scout Road; along the bridge on the north end of Boy Scout Road, over the Clearwater River; and along Highway 83 south of town, just south of the Double Arrow.
• The County also has received reports of rising waters in the Valley of the Moon in the Rock Creek/Clinton areas, as well as in the Potomac area near Paws Up.
• County Commissioners signed an emergency proclamation regarding flooding at their administrative meeting this morning. Among other measures, the proclamation activates the Emergency Operations Plan, with the Sheriff’s Office serving as the lead agency that coordinates efforts to protect public safety.
• Officials in the Environmental Health Division of the Missoula City-County Health Department are urging affected residents with septic tanks NOT to pump them. Under certain flood conditions, pumping a tank could cause it to float up and damage inlet and outlet pipes. Pumping flood or groundwater into floor sinks or house drains can overwhelm septic systems, leading to sewage surfacing on the ground or backing up in a house. The best solution is to plug all drains in the basement and drastically reduce water use in the house. More information on addressing septic tank issue during a flood is available on the EPA’s website.