eavy rains began on Saturday, May 25, and continued through Sunday night, raising creek and river levels and endangering many folks in Blackfeet Country.
“Two Medicine rose, Little Badger, Big Badger, Whitetail Creek and Birch Creek,” said Incident Command Director Lyle St. Goddard. “It’s mostly on the south side.”
St. Goddard reported creeks along U.S. Highway 89 to Kiowa were high, and in the south, water was beginning to encroach on homes in flood plains. “We checked on the elders and they confirmed they don’t want to leave,” St. Goddard continued. “Today it’s subsided, but it’s still really wet. We’re doing lots of sandbagging today, and we’ve got the Red Cross in place.”
While the Red Cross has returned to Kalispell, St. Goddard reports they left all their equipment in Browning since more rain is due this weekend.
As for road closures, St. Goddard said the Joe Show Road going west is closed, as well as on BIA Route 1 near Dan Boggs’ old place and at the Post Office in Heart Butte. “We’ll see how it goes with closures,” he said, “but now we’re going to residences in the south to see where we need sandbags.”
St. Goddard estimates around 46 people are working on flooding issues and checking on people. He also said he learned about a vehicle hydroplaning on U.S. Highway 2 west of East Glacier Park. “Water was flowing over the road and a car was going too fast and hydroplaned into Ramsey’s [Firebrand]. There were no injuries, but the water has subsided there.”
Crews worked late into Sunday night, and now the BIA is watching infrastructure such as dams and bridges. Roads washed out by the rains will likely not be repaired until the rains have stopped, St. Goddard said.