We got lucky this past weekend, with the rivers getting down below 12 feet. Still, flood stage is at 10 feet and we’ve been past that for over a week.
This Monday morning we’re at 11.53 feet. KPAX has good images of what people are dealing with.
Back in 1908, the rivers reached up to 17 feet.
At the end of last week they were around 13 to 14 feet.
I was down on the California and Russell Street Bridges on Saturday, and the water is pretty close to the bottom of those bridges.
If we got up to 17 feet again, I think those bridges would be at risk. Remember, back in 1908 we lost the Higgins Avenue Bridge to the floodwaters.
Snowpacks are still 30% to 50% above normal May levels.
If we get the perfect storm of super sunny weather and then a bunch of rain, we could be in trouble.
One story that had a big impact on me was that which one of the TV news stations had this weekend.
It talked about a guy that’s been renting a house in the Orchard Homes area for the past 7 years.
And he got flooded, had to spend all his money on a moving truck and hotel, and had $20 left in his pocket when it was all over.
And it’s not over, not by a longshot.
That story about the renter was a big reason I went down to Fort Missoula on Saturday and filled sandbags for an hour.
I headed back on Sunday and filled them for a good three hours, plus I headed out to the river and laid down those sandbags on someone’s property.
There were quite a few people there filling sandbags, plus lots of kids. I even talked to a guy that’d driven over from Bozeman to help out.
A guy on the radio just said that over 23,000 sandbags were filled in Missoula this weekend. Currently, there are 60 pallets of sandbags at Fort Missoula waiting to be picked up. From my experience, each pallet has about 30 to 40 sandbags, usually piled 3-high.
I wish more people were helping out, and I wish more politicians were seen doing so. We did have Mike Cooney come to town and do a bit on Friday, though.
Anyways, Missoula isn’t out of the woods yet. In fact, I think for most of May and into June, we’ll be near, at, or past flood stage levels.
And far from hindering the fire season, I feel this spell of weather and combined snowpack melt will only delay the inevitable.
Missoula – flooding in May and June; fires in July and August.
Welcome to western Montana.