MISSOULA — The Missoula Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is preparing for the possibility of moderate flooding along the Clark Fork River west of Missoula by late this week.
“Right now, we’re anticipating that going into the weekend, perhaps as early as Friday, we could start to see some of that larger flooding impact," OEM Director Adriane Beck said.
The latest forecast by the National Weather Service office in Missoula is calling for the river to crest between midnight Thursday, and noon Friday, at just under the 11-foot moderate flood stage, and well above 7.5-foot minor flood stage.
If more rain than anticipated falls, that 11-foot threshold is well within reach. Beck says bags and sand are available for those in flood-prone areas,
“The county has created a self-serve sandbagging station operation at Fort Missoula, so there is a pile of sand there that we will monitor and keep full as needed as well as empty sandbags," Beck said.
Beck says that with COVID-19 social distancing protocols in place the biggest adjustment will be in making sure volunteers that are posting signs and bringing in sand and bags are limited to small groups.
She added the best thing those in flood-prone residential areas can do to keep up with the latest information is to register at smart911.com.
“We’ll start pushing out a lot of social media things as well as when it does look like it’s going to start having those negative impacts, we will send out emergency notifications to those areas we think are going to be impacted," Beck said.
Emergency management staff will continue to work closely with the National Weather Service Office in Missoula as rainfall projections and river level projections are updated.
Missoula County commissioners approved an emergency proclamation ahead of anticipated flooding.