Missoula officials begin flood damage assessment, street remains underwater
MISSOULA, Mont. —
Now that the Clark Fork River is below action stage, people impacted by the flood have just four days to fill out a report that could help them get federal disaster money, but it could take more time for inspectors to reach some areas.
NBC Montana has been tracking the flood since April 29, when it hit action stage. It was in flood stage from April 30 to May 3 and May 5 to June 3.
Though water levels are much lower now than when the river peaked at about 13.8 feet on May 12, water is still running down Kehrwald Drive, and officials say it could still be days before the homes at the end of that road are accessible.
"Things really appear to have changed as far as how the river is flowing through that area, and so we're really, very unclear as to what it's going to take for the river, what level it has to get to," said Captain Tony Rio, with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.
County officials took advantage of receding water levels Monday. Building inspectors and floodplain administrators are assessing exterior structure damage. They’re tagging the homes with red, yellow and green permits indicating level of damage, with green as clear and red as more extensive.
“From what I understand they've yellow-tagged several, and that is for water in the crawl space, that type of thing, and they've also green-tagged several homes," said Rio.
Once they finish that work they’ll be able to lift the evacuation orders, but they have to get on Kehrwald Drive before they can finish doing that.
"This area at the end of Tower and the Kehrwald area, there's still running water there, and so that area right now -- we can't even get folks in to access, so we're really in a waiting game just waiting for that running water to go away," said Rio.
There’s also the process of cleaning up all the sandbags. Rio said they’re in the process of designating a drop point for residents to take the sand and they’re working with volunteer groups to coordinate manpower to move the bags.
County officials held a meeting Sunday night about moving into recovery efforts. They say Missoula residents impacted by the flood have until June 8 to fill out the citizen flood damage report. It doesn’t guarantee federal assistance, but not filling it out could disqualify you from help.