Missoula Emergency Services Keeping an Eye on Spring Conditions
After last spring and summer’s devastating floods, Missoula County Disaster and Emergency Services personnel are well prepared for whatever may happen this spring.
Director Adriane Beck has been keeping an eye on the deep snow in the Missoula Valley.
“Certainly, there’s a lot of snow on the ground in the low country which is a condition that we did not see last year,” said Beck. “However, when we look to the snow pack and the water equivalent in the mountains that feed the Clark Fork basin that is our greatest indicator of flood potential, we’re sitting right at about normal. We’re just a little above 100 percent of normal, but it’s important for folks to remember that we will continue to build on that snow pack until April.”
Beck emphasized that snow pack is just one piece of the puzzle as preparations are made for spring.
“The snow pack is just one piece of the picture when we look at our flood hazard and predictions,” she said. “Certainly, we have to have water in the mountains that flood event, but it’s really all about what the temperatures do, how quickly we warm up and if we get any precipitation during the spring.”
Beck said her office has maintained continued communication with residents in the flooded areas from 2018.
“We’ve been updating them on projects and progress that the county is making relative to flood planning and flood mitigation in the future,” she said. “We actually are planning to have a public meeting in that Orchard Homes neighborhood in April and we’re still working out those details, so stay tuned.”
Beck said she has also maintained contact with the many groups and community organizations that volunteered during last year’s emergency, along with the various county agencies that responded through the spring and summer.
Beck echoed the advice of Montana State Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale regarding the purchase of flood insurance, very soon.
“This is the time that if anyone has any inkling that they should look into flood insurance that this is the time, since there is a 30 day waiting period for any policy to take effect,” she said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced last fall that approximately $1.5 million would be distributed among nine Montana counties, including Missoula County to recoup the funds spent protecting county infrastructure and to reimburse the county for overtime pay.
Director Adriane Beck said the amount requested by the county is approximately $255,000, however, no monies have been officially approved. Whatever funds received will go back into the Missoula County general fund.