Flooding remains a problem across north-central Montana Monday evening with flood warnings and road closures still in place.
For Cascade County, officials are advising travelers to use extreme caution in the Sun River Valley as the Sun River continues to rise.
The Sun River entered the flood stage at 7.5 feet. As of 6:30 p.m. Monday, the river was at 8.73 feet, however, it was already flooding below Gibson Reservoir near Simms. Floodwaters are expected to reach Vaughn Monday night or early Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. When the Sun River reaches 9 feet at Simms, Highway 200 becomes flooded between Simms and the city of Sun River.
While there are no evacuation orders in effect, county officials are advising residents in the impacted areas to have an emergency preparedness kit ready.
Sandbags were available to Sun River residents as of 5 p.m. Monday at the Sun River Church of Latter-day Saints, which is located at #5 Dracut Road.
Both the Fort Shaw and Medicine River fishing access sites are closed at this time.
For the second year in a row, Augusta is underwater, which is affecting travel.
Highway 287 remains closed at Augusta south to Bowman’s Corner while Montana 21 between Augusta and Simms is closed due to a washed out bridge. With both Highway 287 and Montana 21 closed, the best way to reach Augusta is through Choteau to the north.
NorthWestern Energy reported that crews in Sun River and Augusta will need to turn some customers’ gas meters off for safety reasons. As water subsides, they will then work with customers to turn gas back on. Residents are asked to call 1-888-467-2669 with questions or concerns.
During a flood, the following steps are advised:
- Stay out of flood waters. Do not drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. Always follow authorities’ instructions on evacuation orders and be aware of changes in traffic routes.
- If water levels continue to rise, seek higher ground. Floodwaters may contain bacterial contaminants, hazardous substances or sharp objects.
- Move livestock to higher ground. Do not wait until floodwaters rise to keep animals safe.
- Check for local boil-water advisories. Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, make ice or make baby formula.
Montana Department of Transportation resources: