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Rising temperatures remind residents to prepare for spring flooding

A university area neighborhood has been experiencing ponding water for over a week.

MISSOULA, MONT. - It may just be a week since winter ended, but Missoula County is seeing rising temperatures, and with that come rising waters.

A university-area neighborhood has been experiencing flooding from mountain snow runoff for more than a week.

Cleon Young is visiting is family from Idaho and is concerned about the ponding water.

"You can see (the water) has saturated all of the yards. It makes it difficult getting in and out," says Young.

The neighborhood has seen runoff continuously trickle down the mountainside and under garages and homes. Sewer systems throughout the neighborhood are also backing up. Young says spring runoff isn't unusual, but the amount of water is greater than in past years due to the higher-than-usual snowfall.

"From what we've understood it occurs yearly. This year it's a little more than usual because of the snow," says Young.

Todd Klietz, the flood plain administrator for Community and Planning Services, reports there has been flooding in Nine Mile Creek, Mill Creek and the Rattlesnake area. No homes have yet been affected.

"We know that we've got above-average snowpack still, and that there is a lot of water in that snow, but whether or not that's going to contribute to a spring flood we just don't know," says Klietz.

Missoula County is no stranger to flooding. The area was hit by 25-year floods in both 2011 and 1997. The last 100-year flood was in 1908, and Klietz says it doesn't take major snowpack to induce a flood.

"(1908) wasn't a big snowpack year. It was 30 days of rain in May that caused it -- rain on snow," says Klietz.

In the case of a flood, county officials advise residents living in a flood plain to get insurance and make sure they understand what that coverage entails. Unsure if you live in a flood-prone area? Klietz recommends getting a third-party flood determination, which runs around $15.

Flood insurance can assist with damage caused by surface waters from any source, as long as the damage affects at least two properties or two acres of land. Flood insurance may also be used to help cover the cost of some preventive measures taken before a flood hits.

Flood insurance does not take effect until 30 days after it is purchased.

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