Continuous rain in the Clark Fork basin could cause the river to rise by as much as a foot and a half to about the nine foot level by Wednesday evening.

Director of Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management, Adriane Beck said officials have already contacted residents in the Orchard Homes area who were evacuated due to high water in the past few weeks.

“Our traditional flood depth is 10 feet on the gauge,” Beck began. “People will remember in late April that we started to see impacts at about the nine foot mark, and currently, we are seeing water into the Kehrwald area right now, and we expect that to get worse over the next 24 hours, and then hopefully recede from there.”

Beck said residents began to see water on Kehrwald Drive as early as 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

“At that time the river gauge was only at about seven and a half feet,” she said. “As the river comes up, ground water rises with it, so areas that saw impact from ground water we expect to see minimal impacts, but we could see those impacts over the next couple of days. We just ask that you use caution in drinking your water and using your septic system as that ground water rises.”

Beck said with the loss of life last weekend on the Clark Fork River between Clinton and Turah, the rising levels bring more hazards for anyone who may want to recreate on the water.

“The river is ever changing, and certainly in a flooded condition there’s trees and debris that pose a significant hazard,” she said. “There is still a power line hazard at the end of the Tower Street area that has a closure in place from the Reserve Street Bridge to the Kelly Island river access.”

Beck said no mandatory evacuations are planned, but some residents are already making plans to vacate the area once again.

“We have been in contact with the residents on Kehrwald Drive, and most of them are planning to be out of the area,” she said. “They have not expressed any need for shelters, but we have talked with the Red Cross and they stand at the ready to open a shelter should the need arise.”

Beck said filled sandbags are still available at Fort Missoula, as well as several pallets of filled sandbags in the affected areas that are free for residents to use.

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