With flood waters inundating several homes in the Missoula area, Missoula County Disaster and Emergency Services announced on Tuesday that Christ the King Church has been opened as a temporary evacuation shelter for those families displaced by flooding.

Deputy Director for the Office of Emergency Management Ken Parks said the church would be ready to house flood victims by 4:00 p.m.

“We’ve been talking with Jacqueline Baldwin-LeClaire at the Red Cross, and she has indicated that they will be opening up a shelter at Christ the King Church at 1400 Gerald,” Parks said. “They will be able to assist families with a place to stay, some food and whatever else they may need.”

Parks said the OEM has primarily been a clearinghouse for information for those affected by the flooding of the Clark Fork River.

“Right now, we’re in charge of information management, so that folks can know where to go for whatever they may need,” he said. “We want to form a collaborative effort to organize volunteers. When it comes to helping to fill sandbags, we as yet don’t have any sandbag filling points, but we’re working on that situation right now. The problem we have is that sand is difficult to get a hold of right now. The county doesn’t have any sand available, so what we’re encouraging people to do is to get together as a group or a neighborhood and purchase a load of sand, then we would be glad to come in and organize volunteers to fill sandbags.”

Parks had several pieces of advice for neighborhoods affected by the flooding.

“First, be aware of elderly or disabled people who can’t get around very well and make sure they’re not cut off by the water, and don’t drive on flooded streets,” he said. “Flood waters can be very dangerous. They can appear on the surface to be calm as you went through them yesterday, but they can change overnight and large sections of earth can move underneath those flood waters. That could mean danger for driving through, or even more so for those trying to walk through, you could fall into a deeper hole and be swept away on the current.”

Below...find a fact sheet issued by Missoula County on Tuesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service said on Tuesday that even though waters may recede slightly today, warmer temperatures over the weekend will bring more melting snow pack into the river, resulting in more flooding.