Clark Fork River Floods Missoula Streets from Record Snow Pack
The Clark Fork River has overflowed its banks in parts of Missoula due to a combination of record snow pack, warm temperatures and weekend rain.
Director of Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management, Adriane Beck described the areas most affected by the flooding.
“Certainly, we’re seeing some impacts from smaller streams and creeks, but the major impact we’re seeing right now is in the Tower – Kehrwald area along the Clark Fork River on the north side as well as on the south side off of Schmidt Lane,” said Beck. ‘We have some impact around homes was the water came up due to warmer temperatures, and of course the rain we’re seeing right now.”
Beck said flood stage for the Clark Fork is traditionally 10 feet.
“10 feet is considered flood stage for the area in and around Missoula, and we exceeded that last night,” she said. “We look to get a couple more inches today, but we’re hopefully going to see a decline and a recession of the water as we go into tonight.”
Beck said this could just be the warm-up for a serious flood problem this spring and summer.
“Mother Nature will determine what happens, but we have a tremendous amount of snow that’s remaining in the higher elevations that has yet to come off,” she said. “What we’re seeing today and over the past weekend was low-level elevation snow melt coupled with some precipitation, so this could just be a taste of what we are likely to experience.”
Beck said plans are already in place for a large scale flooding incident in Missoula.
“We will coordinate all the resources that will be needed to protect public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, but in the event there is large-scale flooding we will facilitate the process of an emergency and or disaster declaration to request state and or federal assistance,” she said. “We will also coordinate any kind of rescue that needs to occur because of flooding impacts or people being cut off.”
Beck said anyone living in a flood-prone area should immediately apply for flood insurance, which requires a 30-day waiting period before becoming active.
Free unfilled sandbags are available at 6089 Training Drive, and businesses that sell sand include, but are not limited to, Far West Rock, 728-8500; Home Depot, 523-0901; Knife River, 543-0088; Lowes, 328-1800; Murdoch’s, 549-2355; Time Rental, 543-7136; Western Excavating, 728-1400; and Montana Flasher and Barricade, 542-2701.