Missoula Prepares for Possible Minor Flooding This Weekend
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - With the rapid warm-up that has occurred in western Montana over the past week, and the rain expected over the weekend, the possibility of minor flooding exists in low-lying areas of Missoula.
KGVO News reached out to Nick Holloway, Deputy Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator for the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management about the future flood conditions.
Get Sand and Sandbags at Fort Missoula to Prepare for Possible Flooding
“We've put out some sand and sandbags at ‘D’ Road at Fort Missoula where people can go pick up to protect their primary residences,” began Holloway. “This is something we normally do every year and once again, we're doing it with the current predictions in place. We are going door to door today to make sure people are aware of what the situation could be, especially this coming weekend.”
Holloway had words of caution for those driving in areas where streets are flooded.
Never Walk or Drive Through Flood Waters that may be Contaminated
“We just ask people to not enter flood waters, whether it's walking through them or driving through them,” he said. “That is where most people get killed unfortunately is when they do that kind of thing. Stay out of floodwaters waters which can rise very quickly. If you have a car that may be stranded in a flood, move that car to a dry area before the floodwaters come in. There are all kinds of bacteria and contaminants in floodwater, and that's another reason to stay out because you can catch all kinds of diseases by just making contact with floodwater.”
For those living in flood-prone areas who may need to evacuate, Holloway had this advice.
Officials Urge all Missoula Residents to Sign up for Smart 9-1-1
“Sign up for Smart 9-1-1,” he said. “That's an emergency alert system that we use to make sure people are aware of what's coming and we've already sent out an emergency alert on this yesterday. Have a ‘go bag’ ready and if you're told to evacuate, don't fight it, do so immediately. We only give out evacuation warnings and orders when there's a good reason for it. Nobody wants to displace anybody. But if you're told to evacuate, that means there's a life safety issue at hand and you should get out right away.”
Holloway provided a handy website that will help you respond quickly and safely in case of flooding.
“We have created a webpage with good information about flooding in it and that is missoula.co/flood info,” he said. “On that page, you can link to the Clark Fork River hydrograph and that can let you pay attention to where the river levels are currently and where they're projected to go.”
The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office also provided this advice.
‘When placing sandbags, remember that they should be used to protect primary residences only. Materials may not be used along property lines or riverbanks. Sandbagging is a physical activity. Use proper body mechanics, take frequent breaks, drink plenty of water, and don’t overexert yourself.’