Missoula flooding survey continues; residents urged to stay alert

Posted at 11:00 AM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 13:00:46-04

MISSOULA – Crews are once again taking to the Clark Fork River to survey structures that experienced flooding in the Orchard Homes area.

The Search and Rescue team is looking at high water marks and other indicators to begin the initial damage assessment required for homes in the floodplain.

Authorities add that crews will start assessing other areas impacted by flooding in the Missoula area over the next few weeks, including homes along Harpers Bridge Road and Mallard Way.

Residents with homes affected by overland flooding can contact the floodplain administrator at (406) 258-4841 to request an assessment.

Search and Rescue crews are being used to perform these assessments because their equipment and expertise are best suited for navigating rapidly flowing water.

Thanks to current forecasts predicting lower water levels this week the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office has temporarily modified its evacuation order to allow homeowners access to their property.

The change means affected residents can return to their homes and will not need to check in and out at roadblocks. But authorities caution that the evacuation order modifications are not intended for homeowners to re-inhabit the property or start recovery efforts.

River levels are expected to rise again within the next several days and residents should not plan to stay in their homes overnight and should stay alert of any changes to ensure safety.

The water level on the Clark Fork River above Missoula rose to 10.6 feet on Wednesday morning and remains in minor flood stage. The river is expected to continue to rise, reaching moderate flood stage on Thursday morning.

Current forecasts predict it to rise to over 11 feet later this week and remain there for some time. The most up-to-date river forecasts are available here.

Although the Clark Fork River is not currently predicted to reach major flood stage this week, authorities caution that conditions can change quickly and snowpack levels remain high.

Approximately 65 homes in Missoula County are still under modified evacuation orders.

The Missoula City-County Health Department in cooperation with Care Van will provide a free immunization clinic from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday for all residents affected by flooding and volunteers who have helped with flood-relief efforts.

The mobile clinic, which will offer tetanus (Td/Tdap) vaccinations, will be located at the Wheat Montana parking lot on the corner of Reserve and Third streets. Call (406) 258-4987 for more information about the clinic.

Missoula residents are urged to sign up for Smart 911 alerts to receive emergency notifications. A flood information line at (406) 258-INFO is being staffed from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Callers will hear an updated recording after hours. 

RELATED: NWS still expecting long flood season, followed by warmsummer

A modified 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

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 Street open to local traffic only
  • Stonybrook Drive open to local traffic only
  • River Road west of Reserve open to local traffic only