Montana deputies warn residents near rising river to leave

Montana deputies warn residents near rising river to leave

Missoula County sheriff’s deputies are going door to door in a neighborhood along the rising Clark Fork River warning residents to start preparing to leave.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said Monday that deputies are encouraging people not to wait for an evacuation order, with the river expected to reach major flood level for the first time since 1948.

Water is already surrounding at least 10 homes in Missoula’s Orchard Homes neighborhood. County officials are warning that flooding could eventually threaten between 800 and 1,300 homes from eastern Missoula near Rattlesnake Creek to where the Clark Fork meets the Bitterroot River west of the city.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Lukinbeal says the estimate includes downtown Missoula, though officials are uncertain what effects if any there will be in that levy-protected area.