Local officials monitoring river levels, potential flooding in Simms, Fort Shaw and Sun River areas

Local officials are monitoring river levels and potential flooding in the Simms, Fort Shaw and Sun River areas.

According to the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, “water is rising rapidly and is estimated to continue for the next 48 hours.”

As of 3:30 p.m., the Sun River near Simms was at 8.87 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Flood stage is 7.5 feet. Last June, the river crested at 10.75 feet at this gauge near Simms-Fairfield Road.

Water levels on the Sun River Monday afternoon. Photo courtesy Kyler Baker.

The next downstream gauge near Vaughn has the river at 5.1 feet as of 4 p.m. Flood stage at this gauge is 6 feet, according to NWS. Last June, the river hit 9.64 feet at this gauge. The historic high was 23.4 feet in 1964.

As of Monday evening, the following were closed, according to CCSO:

  • U.S. Highway 87/Sun River Cascade Road
  • MT Highway 21 mile marker 5, between Augusta and Simms. The Hougan Slough Bridge is washed out
  • Fort Shaw fishing access
  • Medicine River fishing access

There is no evacuation order in place at this time, but residents are asked to monitor updates from CCSO and the National Weather Service.

If the situation were to call for a mandatory evacuation for residents in Cascade County, the order would be issued by CCSO.

Residents are encouraged to have an emergency preparedness kit that includes a 72-hour supply of water, medications and essential items.

Beginning at 5 p.m. May 27, a limited number of sandbags will be available to Sun River residents at Sun River Church of Latter Day Saints, 5 Dracut Road.

Due to limited availability, sandbags will only be issued to Sun River residents until further notice, according to CCSO.

During a flood, CCSO advises the following:

  • 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.

More information about preparing for flooding and what to do during a flood is available from the City-County Health Department’s April post regarding this year’s flood season and emergency preparation.

For general flooding inquiries, contact 406-455-8566.

Updates will be provided on the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.