Flooding hitting Cascade County, officials create online information center

The National Weather Service is predicting flood levels along the Sun River near Simms and in the Simms and Vaughn gauges on the Sun River to reach levels comparable to June 2011. Homes, farms, and agricultural lands will likely flood.

Cascade County has created a flood information page on the City-County Health Department website: http://www.cchdmt.org/2018/06/cascade-county-flood-information-headquarters/

Road Closures

Sun River-Cascade Road from town of Sun River south of cemetery is now closed. (6/19 3:28 pm)

Lowery Road is being closed on Cascade County and Teton County side of the bridge (6/19 4:46).

For all up to date highway information visit the Montana Department of Transportation website.

As of 3:50 p.m. the following roads are closed or impacted by flooding, per MDT:

MT-21 1/2 MILE EAST OF AUGUSTA: Road is closed, bridge is washed out.
S-565 S-565 – SIMMS TO FAIRFIELD CUT ACROSS: Water on the roadway, reduced speeds of 0 to 35 miles per hour.
MT-200 5 MILES WEST OF JUNCTION WITH S-434: Road closed at mile marker 95.5. Road is closed and impassable due to failing culvert. Local access only.
MT-21 FROM SIMMS TO AUGUSTA: Road closed, bridge washed out at mile marker 0.5. Local access only.
US-287 FROM 2 MILES SOUTH TO 6 MILES NORTH OF AUGUSTA: Road closed due to flooding. Barricades are in place at mile marker 37 south of Augusta (Elk Creek) and at mile marker 46 north of Augusta. Local access only.

Evacuations

No evacuations at this time (6/19 3:28 pm). All evacuation notices will come from Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.

Shelters

Montana Red Cross will open an evacuation shelter in Choteau on June 19 at 7 p.m. in response to Sun River flooding.

The shelter will be located at the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1000 1st St. N.E., in Choteau.

Red Cross shelters provide meals, a safe place to stay, information and access to other community resources. Everyone is welcome at a Red Cross shelter, and all services are free. The Red Cross does not discriminate based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, disability, political opinions, sexual orientation or gender identity. No reservations are required. Service animals are welcome.

The Sun River has risen dramatically following significant rainfall over the last several days. Communities including Augusta, Simms and Vaughn, as well as Highway 200, are expected to be impacted. For up-to-date information and alerts about emergencies in your area, download the Red Cross emergency app from your app store. It’s free and available to both iPhone and Android users.

Families who need services should call the Montana Red Cross at 800-272-6668.

Volunteers

If you would like to volunteer contact Simms Volunteer Fire Department at (406) 264-5700 or Vaughn Volunteer Fire Department at (406) 781-9716.

Resources

To prepare

  • Gather the emergency supplies you previously stocked in your home and stay tuned to local radio or television station for updates.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
  • Have your immunization records handy or be aware of your last tetanus shot, in case you should receive a puncture wound or a wound becomes contaminated during or after the flood.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse and fill with clean water.
  • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills and trash cans inside or tie them down securely.

Emergency Supplies

  •  Several clean containers for water, large enough for a 3-5 day supply of water (about five gallons for each person).
  • A 3-5 day supply of non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A first aid kit and manual and prescription medicines and special medical needs.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
  • Sleeping bags or extra blankets.
  • Water-purifying supplies, such as chlorine or iodine tablets or unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach.
  • Baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies.
  • Disposable cleaning cloths, such as “baby wipes” for the whole family to use in case bathing facilities are not available.
  • Personal hygiene supplies, such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.
  • An emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Rubber boots, sturdy shoes, and waterproof gloves.
  • Insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin, screens, or long-sleeved and long-legged clothing for protection from mosquitoes which may gather in pooled water remaining after the flood.

During a Flood

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid flood waters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

  • Stay Informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the Internet and social media for information and updates.
  • Get to Higher Ground: If you live in a flood prone area or are camping in a low lying area, get to higher ground immediately.
  • Obey Evacuation Orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
  • Practice Electrical Safety: Don’t go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises–get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
  • Avoid Flood Waters: Don’t walk through flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do NOT drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in seconds 12 inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.

After a Flood

When flood waters recede, the damage left behind can be devastating and present many dangers. Images of flood destruction depict destroyed homes and buildings, damaged possessions, and decimated roadways. However, what you can’t see can be just as dangerous. Floodwaters often become contaminated with sewage or chemicals. Gas leaks and live power lines can be deadly, but are not obvious at first glance.

  • Stay Informed: Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Authorities may ask you to boil water for a while after a flood. Utility companies often have apps to update you on getting service back. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms when areas are dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage.
  • Avoid Flood Waters: Standing water hides many dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be sharp objects under the water or the road could have collapsed. If it is likely your home will flood, don’t wait for evacuation order, get out! Talk to friends and family about emergency visits. If you have pets, take them with you or get them somewhere safe.
  • Avoid Disaster Areas: Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Heed Road Closed and Cautionary Signs: Road closure and other cautionary signs are put in place for your safety. Pay attention to them!
  • Wait for the All Clear: Do not enter a flood damaged home or building until you’re given the All Clear by authorities. If you enter a flood damaged building, be extremely careful. Water can cause floods to collapse, ceiling to fall, etc. Make sure the electrical system has been turned off. Have the power company or a qualified electrician fix wires. Contact your insurance agent to discuss property damage.
  • Contact Your Family and Loved Ones: Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word.