Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Flood concerns in Hill, Blaine counties diminishing


The up-and-down chance of severe flooding in Blaine County continued over the weekend, with a flash flood warning issued Friday after a reservoir was breached, and flood advisories for the county continuing today.

The National Weather Service this morning had flood advisories in place for the county through 10 a. m., reporting that streams continued to run high in their banks, including Lodge and Battle creeks. Those creeks were within their banks, but minor flooding was possible, the report said.

Blaine County Commissioner Vic Miller said this morning that the runoff appears to be in controllable levels.

"Unless there is an uncontrollable amount of water out of Canada, I am seeing nothing of major concern at this point, " he said.

The Blaine and Hill county regions have been poised for flooding through the winter and early spring, with extremely high levels of moisture in deep snow in the northern parts of the counties.

While flooding has occurred, with some roads shut down in both counties at some points, the cool night-time weather has, so far, allowed the counties to avoid major flooding.

Hill County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Joe Parenteau said this morning the worst seems to be over in Hill County.

"I think we are good at this point, " he said. "It looks like we have made it through. "

Parenteau said most roads that were closed have been re-opened, with County Road 30 North, from Shepherd Road to Blaine County, the last major closure. The county road and bridge department will be working on re-opening that road today, he said.

Otherwise, some roads are restricted to emergency and local traffic only due to wet spots.

Parenteau said the level of snow in the northern part of the county has dropped dramatically, helped by the cool nights and slower-than-expected melting.

"A lot melted off and went into the ground, " Parenteau said.

A reservoir breach Friday in the county — the second in two weeks — resulted in a flash flood warning being issued for the Fifteen Mile Creek drainage into the Milk River.

Lybeck Reservoir suffered the breach, leading to water flowing across a road into the BR 12 reservoir. A previous breach in BR 12 had been repaired about a week earlier.

Miller said water is still standing on the Savoy Road due to Wayne Creek runoff, but is expected to be at a controllable level by this afternoon.

Work was done to control the runoff from Lybeck, with controlled releases from it and BR 12 minimizing the damage.

Battle and Lodge creeks are running continuously but there is no indication of water outside the banks of the Milk or any tributaries, Miller said. Thirty Mile Creek running through the City of Harlem is well within its banks.

The Weather Service again warned people to avoid driving vehicles across any roads covered in water. One flood of flowing water is enough to sweep vehicles off a road, and floodwater often is deeper then it appears, the warning said.


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