Spring Floods to Hit Missoula, Ravalli Counties - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Spring Floods to Hit Missoula, Ravalli Counties

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MISSOULA - Heavy snow pack levels combined with warming spring temperatures in western Montana could soon take a dangerous turn.

The rivers are rising as snow pack melts, and emergency responders are urging the public to take as many precautions as possible to prepare for floods.

Emergency responders said rising water levels and potential floods also pose dangers for folks recreating out on the river and along the banks.

"If your houses flooded in 2011, then there's a really high likelihood that you will flood again," said Missoula County Sheriff's Detective Paige Pavalone.

Pavalone said three years ago, dozens of homes, yards and streets completely flooded in the Orchard Homes area, and this spring could bring a similar scenario.

"Start acting now, get sandbags and do the best you can do to prevent that water from coming onto your property," she said.

Pavalone also advises people to make preparations for pets and livestock and to be aware of other obstacles caused by flooding.

"Downed power lines, debris floating in water, people walking into water that may look shallow but it's actually very deep, currents in water."

Snow pack levels are well above normal in the Bitterroot basins and emergency responders said those recreating need to be prepared for quickly changing river conditions.

"Watch out for any hazards that might come with higher water, such as floating debris or faster moving water and to be mindful of the safety aspects of that," Erik Hoover, Ravalli County Office of Emergency Management Interim Director said.

Emergency responders said if you're advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately, and if there's a possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground at once.

"We just want to remind people don't put yourself in a position that you're going to have to be rescued from-- make smart decisions," Pavalone said.

The Missoula County Office of Emergency Management
has complete information on flood preparations and current conditions.
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