COLUMBIA FALLS - Although the rain has stopped in the Flathead, the flooding continues.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Flathead County Sheriff's Office gave an update on the situation.
“You know, the big one is rising water levels create several dangerous conditions, we want the public to be aware of that. We want folks to be aware that that you know these banks are being eroded oftentimes underneath so even standing near the banks can wash that away and you know, we plead with you to please use caution as we struggle just to keep up with the resources and responses that we need to,” said Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino.
Flathead Couty has issued numerous evacuations and road closures due to water on the roadways.
“It was eroding away several roads which was concerning to us. For emergency travel,” said Heino.
The main concern now is the high volume of water in the minor contributing rivers into the Flathead River.
With the future weather forecast, the Flathead River is estimated to rise another foot from 14.66 feet to 15.61 feet.
“I know that our weather is going to change we're going to see some warmer temperatures. But that does not stop our concerns because of the moisture content, the snow and the valleys that will melt off,” said Heino.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging people to monitor their own property and situations through the National Weather Service website.
They are also asking people not to drive through the water and to stay away from riverbanks. It is anticipated that there will be more road closures and evacuations.
“We are seeing that increasing water flows. They will affect different areas as we see that we're kind of taking it case by case basis as we do that,” said Heino.
For updates on evacuations and road closures be sure to monitor the Flathead County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.
The Sheriff's Office has also established an information line for community members at 406-758-2111.
Official evacuation notices have been issued for the following areas:
- Leisure Road, Kalispell
Additional road closures are also in effect:
- North Hill Top Road in Columbia Falls (Open to resident traffic only)
- From Steel Bridge Road to Muddy Drive in Kalispell
- West Side Hungry Horse Reservoir Road between Mazie Creek and Graves Creek Road
- 7-mile Upper Whitefish/Stryker Road in the Stillwater State Forest
Evacuations have been lifted in the following areas and roads are open to resident traffic only:
- Rabe Road, Columbia Falls
- Lake Drive and Bailey Lake Area in Columbia Falls
Sandbag supply and fill stations have been set up in the following locations:
- Columbia Falls City Shop, 700 9th St West
- Applied Materials Parking Lot (Old Shopko)
- Echo Lake Fire Station 735 Echo Lake Rd
- Whitefish: Corner of Railway Street and Columbia Ave (snow lot)
- Whitefish: Schellinger Construction has also made sand available free of charge at its pits on Whitefish Stage and Farm to Market Road.
There is a pre-evacuation notice in place for low-lying areas across Flathead County.