Archive for May 23rd, 2011

by jhwygirl

I didn’t catch the evening news on the idiot box, and I’m not seeing a flashing red “Breaking” notice across the Missoulian page, so here goes.

The National Weather Service has put out a Flood Warning for Missoula – in the area where the city lies (from East Missoula to past the city).

What is interesting is this:

* AT 10.0 FEET…FLOODING OF LOW LYING AREAS ADJACENT TO THE RIVER
IS POSSIBLE. SPECIFIC FLOOD PRONE AREAS INCLUDE NORTHERN PORTIONS
OF TOWER AND STONE STREETS IN THE ORCHARD HOMES AREA.

* AT 12.0 FEET…FLOODING IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE CLARK FORK RIVER
FROM RESERVE STREET THROUGH THE ORCHARD HOMES RESIDENTIAL AREA
AND TOWARD THE CONFLUENCE WITH THE BITTERROOT RIVER NEAR KELLY
ISLAND.

Just how close will we get to that 10 foot or 12 foot level? Take a look a this hydrograph from near East Missoula. That hydrograph is live info for the actual flows – and the projection portion is changed pretty frequently. It has – so you know – only been going UP and for a longer period of time for the last few days.

So if any of you folks live in the Orchard Homes area or near Tower and Stone Street (especially) you might think about getting prepared. Believe it or not, I’ve actively ‘participated’ (for lack of a better word) in two floods. They aren’t a lot of fun – especially if you don’t have any warning.

Also of interest is the Bitterroot between the East and West Fork and on down to its confluence with the Clark’s Fork. The National Weather Service currently has a Flood Watch in effect for the Bitterroot. Here is, also, the hydrograph for Bell Crossing.

As you can see, those bridges are going to be pretty stressed, as they already are. The current projection for Bell Crossing is for it to hit above flood stage. The Bell Crossing bridge has, in fact, met the ire of a number of people, including one of Ravalli’s tea party leaders who owns a home right next to the river. As you can note from that article, he now feels the government should come in a take action to protect his home.

As an aside, I love that quote in there from former Ravalli County Attorney George Corn: “You can sue a ham sandwich if you can pay the filing fee.”

In other parts of the Bitterroot more theater will likely play out with Tom Robak, who built his house illegally in the county floodplain. Hef also brought in fill to do it, which is also a violation of (at least) county floodplain regs. I’ve written twice about the Robak issue here, touching on the greater issues his violation presents – and why floodplain regs are a good thing.

Robak’s house is somewhere down near theEast Fork/West Fork of the Bitterroot, and Robak recently made application to dredge out and remove an island in the BItterroot to help protect his unfinished illegally-built home…along with rip-rapping the bank of the river to help save the home.

As you can see from that hydrograph, it isn’t looking pretty there – and if you built your home in the floodplain and brought fill in to do it? Not only are you going to have problems, you are going to be causing problems for any bridge downstream from you…for any irrigation structure downstream from you…and pretty much any property downstream.

His liability at this point is pretty great.

Bottom line, folks, is that if you live next to the river or you know anyone that does, you might want to offer them some help to get stuff up out of the basement and up off the first floor. Sitting in denial until it’s creeping up on the lawn isn’t smart. Trust me.

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