By Tim Leeds 

Some families displaced by Blaine County flooding


Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson

Water touches the banks as it flows east along the Milk River this morning.

Rising levels of the Milk River continue to be closely watched in Blaine County, with roads being closed, some families out of their homes and the situation in Harlem being watched very closely.

"Upwards of eight families are temporarily out of their homes and are being monitored in the event of meeting their needs," Blaine County Commissioner Vic Miller said Wednesday evening. "No shelters have opened for displaced homeowners."

Miller, who was in a meeting out of town today, said that with up to 2 feet more flood water anticipated on the Milk River, people should use caution when driving near the river. Roads have been marked as closed throughout the county.

"Currently, most roads are marked as closed from Coburg in the eastern part of the county to the Eight Mile Road Bridge west of Harlem," he said. "Paradise Valley Road in the Chinook area is marked as closed."

Much of the state is listed by the National Weather Service as being in flood watches or flood warnings.

Blaine, Chouteau and Hill counties all are listed as being on a flood warning, with the region from Bozeman to Billings listed as in a flood watch, the more severe warning.

The state Department of Transportation is reporting more roads that had closed due to flooding reopening, although many are at reduced speeds.

Montana Highway 66 north of Hays has been reopened, at reduced speeds.

MDT reported no closures on U.S. highways 2 or 87 south of Havre.

Miller said a log jam on a diversion from the river is being scrutinized in Blaine County, but rumors that dams have been breached are incorrect.

The sewer system in Harlem is being closely monitored for the possibility of the high river level causing backups from the treatment plant. Miller said people are urged to curb their water use to a bare minimum to prevent a backup.

Miller said Tuesday that the county is prepared to deal with flooding in Harlem or Chinook if that occurs, including staying in contact with the Red Cross and state and federal agencies.


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