Montana News

Jan 5, 2011 12:25 PM by Travis Clark (KXLF Butte)

Twin Bridges community responds to flooding

TWIN BRIDGES - The National Weather Service office in Great Falls issued a flood warning for the Beaverhead River at Twin Bridges in Madison County on Tuesday.

At 4:33 a.m. Tuesday, the Montana Department of Emergency Services in Madison County reported an ice jam on the Beaverhead River is causing flooding in Twin Bridges.

Twin Bridges Fire Chief Lloyd Carlson says that the problem is occurring because of water releases from the Clark Canyon Dam, about 50 miles away.

The dam is reaching capacity, which is forcing the Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers to dump more water into the Beaverhead River to make room for spring runoff.

Carlson said Tuesday that he had his whole staff working to get the flooding under control.

"We just want to protect peoples' property. I don't know how much worse it's going to get, but were trying. I have most of my fire crew haling sand bags sand. I'm over here with the skid steer trying to build up the bank trying to get the bank up as quick as we can just to protect property," Carlson said.

Although no reported incidents of housing damage have occurred, the fire department says it is taking no risks. Higher dikes, like you see here, are being built to help protect houses.

According to Carlson, ice jams are hard to predict so preparation is key. He says this is the first time in 30 years that flooding has happened in this area. In Twin Bridges there are mixed opinions about the severity of the situation.

"This is a major concern this is only a 2-year-old structure you know the repair and insurance cost would be pretty significant," resident Clyde Carroll said.

"I have seen this river in worse shape than it is now. When we were little and the river would freeze and crack. I live like two blocks from where you're doing this, you could hear the river crack it was an awesome sound," resident Janie Wasmann said.

The flood warning will stay in effect until the river returns to its bank.

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