Spring Floods in Montana (Updated)

The warmer, Spring weather over the last few days resulted in ice jams, snow melt, runoff and rising river levels in many parts of the US state of Montana. A storm with some rain and wet snow has been forecast for Tuesday 11 March with around 1 inch (2.5 cm) of rain predicted.

Musselshell County

The emergency services of Musselshell County said today, 10 March 2014, that around 500 people are stranded by flood water. Residents in rural communities southeast and southwest of Roundup are said to be the worst affected. The emergency services are working on efforst to ensure thoe cut off by the floods have enough supplies. Over 20 houses had to be evacuated along the Musselshell River in Roundup. More evacuations are likely should river levels rise further.

Park County

Clyde Park is a small town to the north of Livingston, Park County, Montana, has also seen some flooding as a result of the warmer weather and rainfall. Excessive water hit frozen ground and was unable to drain away. Around 20 to 30 homes and businesses have been flooded. Local news reports say that the mayor and town council declared a State of Emergency. Hundreds of volunteers and members of emergency services are working hard building up flood defences, mostly using sandbags.

Lewis and Clark County

On Thursday 6 March 2014, Lewis and Clark County Commissioners declared a state of emergency due to flooding. Homes were flooded in East Helena, where some streets were under flood water as high as 2 feet (60cm), with some reports saying it was as high as 4 feet.

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Several roads were under water and had to be closed. The situation was worsened by the flood water bringing rocks and gravel onto the road surface.

The flooding was mainly a result of an ice jam in Prickly Pear Creek, which had overflowed, inundating areas nearby.

Ice jam at Prickly Pear Creek, Montana. Photo AustinWinfield @ twitter.com
Ice jam at Prickly Pear Creek, Montana. Photo AustinWinfield @ twitter.com

Gallatin County

Gallatin County was also struggling with flooding last week, beginning on Wednesday 5 March, particularly in the small town of Manhattan, Gallatin County (not to be confused with the Manhattan in New York City). The flooding continued over the next few days and some flooding was still being reported on Friday 7 March.

Again, homes and roads were flooded. A park was also under water. Emergenciy crews used nine pumps to divert up to 12,000 gallons of water per minute away from central areas of the town around Main Street.

Billings, Montana

Floods also hit the city of Billings, Montana over the last few days. The local zoo, ZooMontana, had to be closed as a result. The worst affected areas of the city are Duck Creek Road and Pryor Creek Road, although local reports say the flooding is only minor and not on the scale of the 2011 Billings floods.

Yellowstone County

Rising levels of the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Yellowstone County, Montana, meant that some residents living to the west of the town had to be evacuated by helicopter on Friday 7 March 2014. An ice jam on the river near to Laurel forced flood water into homes, forcing the evacuations. The displaced were housed in a local school, with help from the Red Cross.

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Sources: KPAX; KMMSAM; NBC Montana; KTVQ