Sheriff Dutton urges caution as flooding continues

Posted at 3:56 PM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:00:00-04

HELENA – Flooding continues around Helena and as temperatures warm up, more snowmelt will run down into the valley.

“Even when it gets shallow up in the high country, we still have a lot of water in areas that still have to drain, so we are going to be dealing with this for a while and we are going to need the cooperation of everyone,” Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said.

Sheriff Dutton said water as low as four inches on the road can create a wake that can flow over sandbags alongside the road.

Due to that threat, it’s imperative to not speed through flooded roads.

“You could be swept away in water four inches deep,” Sheriff Dutton said. “It could take your vehicle right down into the fast moving water where you create another emergency.”

Sheriff Dutton said they will start writing tickets for people who are driving past roadblock signs and those who have no business in the flooded neighborhood zones.

“We were just at a person’s home where they were driving on their lawn because they didn’t want to be inconvenienced,” Sheriff Dutton said. “This is not the time to do that.”

Alongside roads, whirlpools can be seen. As water is deceptive, the whirlpools appear calm, but culverts are dangerous and can suck people in.

Matt Oschner, Regional Communications Director for the America Red Cross for Idaho and Montana, said the Helena shelter for the floods is in standby mode, meaning they will reopen if needed.