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Clark Fork River expected to crest again in major flood stage - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Clark Fork River expected to crest again in major flood stage

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MISSOULA - The Clark Fork River above Missoula is expected to climb again and reach major flood stage again on Friday.

Authorities say that based on current predictions and forecasts, the river is expected to crest at 13.34 feet on Saturday. Residents are being strongly encouraged to not become complacent and to continue planning and preparing for evacuation orders.

The Clark Fork River remains closed between the Reserve Street Bridge and Kona Bridge, due to dangers caused by downed power lines in the river and high water levels full of hazardous debris.

The Clark Fork River above Missoula crested at 13.82 feet – major flood stage and the second-highest on record – on Friday, May 12.

The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office has established roadblocks in the Orchard Homes area, on Harpers Bridge Road and Hamel Road. Residents who are under an evacuation order will not be allowed back in past the roadblocks.

However, as conditions allow some homeowners may be allowed into isolated areas to perform additional preventive measures to protect their homes. Authorities caution that if evacuation orders are issued time is limited to leave your residence and self-evacuation is recommended.

The public should not violate roadblocks or trespass on private property. Deputies are patrolling evacuated areas to protect private property. The public should avoid flooded areas altogether. Any increase in traffic can hinder response efforts and create safety hazards. Residents should photograph and report hazards using the online form at bit.ly/MslaHazardReportingForm.

Authorities are advising folks not to recreate in the water as Missoula is experiencing water levels not seen since the 1970s. River levels are high, currents are fast and debris is widespread.


An evacuation order remains in effect for the following areas:

  • Tower Street, north of 3rd Street
  • Kehrwald Drive
  • Channel Drive
  • Nancy Lou Drive
  • Keck Street and Stone Street – north of Flamingo Drive
  • Schmidt Road
  • Off Mullan Road
  • South Harpers Bridge Road
  • Hamel Road
  • Under the Reserve Street Bridge

Affected residents should check in at the information trailer set up in the Wheat Montana parking lot on the corner of 3rd and Reserve streets.


Road Closures:

  • Tower Street closed to all traffic, north of 3rd Street
  • Nancy Lou Drive closed to all traffic
  • Stone Street north of Flamingo Drive closed to all traffic
  • Schmidt Road closed to all traffic
  • Harpers Bridge Road closed to all traffic
  • Hamel Road closed to all traffic
  • Short Street (and connectors) open to local traffic only
  • Preston Street (and connectors) open to local traffic only
  • Hiberta Street north of 3rd open to local traffic only
  • Stonybrook Drive open to local traffic only

Sandbag Stations:

  • Fort Missoula - Volunteers can help fill sandbags from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check in with a Team Rubicon representative upon arrival. Volunteers must have current health insurance to help with sandbagging. The location is across the road from the Child Development Center, located at 3335 Lt. Moss Road.
  • Missoula County Detention Center – Sandbags can be picked up in the east parking lot, 2340 Mullan Road. Limited supply of filled sandbags are currently available, and assistance loading sandbags into vehicles is available from 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Frenchtown Fire Station 1 – Self-fill sandbag station, filled and unfilled sandbags and sand are available at 16875 Marion Street in Frenchtown.
  • East Missoula Fire Department – Self-fill sandbag station, filled and unfilled sandbags and sand are available at 314 Montana Avenue.
  • Seeley Lake - Sandbags can be obtained at the Seeley Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Resources to purchase sand are limited. Monetary donations through United Way of Missoula County go toward purchasing sand. Sandbagging operations will continue depending on availability of sand, sandbags and volunteers.


Shelter Information:

American Red Cross shelters are on standby and ready to assist in Missoula and Seeley Lake. Residents seeking shelter should call 1-800-272-6668.


Potable Water:

In addition to Missoula Water providing access to potable water (1345 W. Broadway, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday), a Culligan water truck will be at Wheat Montana until further notice to provide potable water. In both cases, people should bring clean containers to fill with water.


Montana FWP has closed the following sites:

  • Sha-Ron Fishing Access Site
  • Kelly Island Fishing Access Site (all access points)
  • Kona Fishing Access Site
  • Deep Creek Fishing Access Site
  • Harpers Bridge Fishing Access Site
  • Council Grove State Park 

FWP also closed the gates or created temporary barriers at many other FASs around the region along the Bitterroot and Blackfoot rivers. FASs with limited access remain open to walk-in use, but people are urged to avoid these areas and exercise extreme caution.


Public Information:

A flood information line, 258-INFO, has been established and is staffed from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. until further notice. Callers will hear an updated recording after hours. A public information trailer is set up at the Wheat Montana parking lot and is staffed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m Information posted after hours.

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