MISSOULA – A brief dip in water levels has provided rest for some in Missoula, but for the US Army Corps of Engineers it means crunch time.
Cities and counties have requested aid from the Crops in fortifying public infrastructure and they will be back in Missoula after providing the city of Plains with some assistance to protect their wastewater treatment ponds.
The Corps have also provided over 275,000 sandbags for relief and has ordered another 100,000 for the next week.
“We’ve gotten past the first bump, the first peak of the river. We’re in a little bit of a holding pattern, doing recon, continuing to coordinate with the counties,” said Corps team leader Jess Jordan. “We are waiting for this second peak that’s coming here at the end of the week. a. and will be here continuing to offer technical assistance and providing direct assistance should that be needed and requested.”
A warning was sent out to an additional 2,205 residents that reside along the Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers over the weekend notifying them of potential evacuation orders.
Reporting by Donal Lakatua for MTN News
MISSOULA – Saturday was the first day where we saw a decrease in water levels for the Clark Fork, the Bitterroot and the Blackfoot rivers.
National Weather Service hydrologist Ray Nickless said that though the water levels may drop over the next couple days, we should still prepare for record heights next week.
According to the national weather service, water levels are expected to recede a small amount Saturday and into Sunday, but Nickless says that this shouldn’t slow down preparations. County officials alerted over 2,500 residents in areas along the Bitterroot and Clark Fork rivers to remain vigilant even as the waterline lowers because the levels are expected to rise back up to nearly 14 feet as early as next week.
“There’s still an incredible amount of snow left in the Blackfoot, Clark Fork river drainages,” Nickless said. “And that will begin to bring another rise on the Clark Fork River as we go into next week. And we could see the river get up to the same heights that we just saw this past week. So that’s, I think, the main message we want to get out there, is a little bit of temporary relief. More water is on the way.”
Though the lull in floodwaters may provide some respite, county officials say you should not let your guard down.
Sandbags can also be picked up at the Missoula County Detention Facility at 2340 Mullan Road and at the East Missoula Rural Fire Department at the corner of Peacock and Montana Street (314 Montana Ave).