HELENA – The Lewis and Clark County Commission declared an emergency Tuesday following flooding damage in the northern and central parts of the county.
“The declaration is a starting point should the event become a FEMA declaration,” Lewis and Clark County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Reese Martin stated in a news release.
Much of the damage has centered around the town of Augusta where residents and local businesses have been placing sandbags to prevent water from getting in. Access to the town has been limited due to high water on the highway and surrounding roads.
“While everything is still underwater and we don’t yet know the extent of the damages to public and critical infrastructure, we do know from experience with last year’s floods much damage was revealed as the flood waters receded.”
(1st Report, 9:07 a.m.) Flooding in north-central Montana on Memorial Day closed sections of two roads around Augusta, caused evacuations in the Sun River Canyon, and forced the Blackfeet Nation to declare a flood disaster.
Now that the rain has stopped and temperatures are warming up, water levels are expected to subside.
On Monday morning, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office reported water on Highway 200 near the Ramble Inn in Sun River and on Highway 565 about a half a mile north of Simms. The roads are still open, however, the Montana Department of Transportation is controlling traffic. Travelers are asked to use caution.
Highway 21 at mile marker 5 and the Cascade Sun River Road are still closed at this time. Highway 287 from Bowman’s Corner to Augusta also remains closed.
Water has also been reported on Highway 287 approximately three miles south of Choteau. Motorists should expect reduced speeds.
While the forecast is positive, flood warnings are still in place for portions of Lewis and Clark, Cascade, Glacier, Toole, Pondera, Teton, and Judith Basin counties.
Streams along the Rocky Mountain Front have crested and are trending lower, according to the National Weather Service, but rivers downstream remain above flood stage.
For Glacier County, numerous small rivers and creaks have peaked, but remain near or above flood stage including Badger Creek and Two Medicine River near Browning and the Teton River west of Choteau.
Montana 49, or Looking Glass Hill, between Kiowa and East Glacier is still closed due to rock slides. There is also still water on Highway 2 three miles west of East Glacier.
Flooding is expected to continue in north-central Montana through Tuesday or Wednesday as runoff moves downstream.
During a flood, the following steps are advised:
- Stay out of flood waters. Do not drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. Always follow authorities’ instructions on evacuation orders and be aware of changes in traffic routes.
- If water levels continue to rise, seek higher ground. Floodwaters may contain bacterial contaminants, hazardous substances or sharp objects.
- Move livestock to higher ground. Do not wait until floodwaters rise to keep animals safe.
- Check for local boil-water advisories. Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, make ice or make baby formula.
Montana Department of Transportation resources:
- Road conditions map
- MDT webcams across Montana
- Non-MDT webcams across Montana
- Road conditions mobile app
- Reported crashes/slide-offs
STORMTracker Weather resources: