Flooding Information Headquarters for Cascade County, MT

This page is your 2019 Cascade County flood information headquarters! Bookmark it or write the address down, because here you’ll be able to quickly access any information you need about flooding—whether you need to know how to prepare, what to do during a flood, how to determine if it’s safe to drive in a flood zone, etc.

As of April 8, 2019, CCHD and Cascade County officials want to reassure the public that there are behind-the-scenes planning efforts in place to ensure that our community is prepared in the event that large-scale flooding occurs. The response to smaller localized flooding in our area is ongoing; appropriate personnel are meeting regularly to discuss whether large scale response efforts are needed. We are preparing for all scenarios.

Interactive flood map from NOAA’s national weather service, image captured 4/15/2019.

With the data that has been collected so far—including evaluations of snowpack and long-term weather outlooks—there are no Cascade County communities that appear to be at high risk for large scale flooding at this time. As a result, the planning of town hall or other community meetings will not take place until a need is identified. “We are committed to the safety and well-being of our residents and will continue to assess, plan, and act accordingly,” says Cascade County’s Department of Emergency Services Interim Coordinator, Scott VanDyken.

In the meantime, it is imperative that individuals like you take measures to protect their property and prepare for any potential flood waters that may impact them through snowmelt or other means. In addition to these preparations, everyone can help minimize the impact of localized flooding.

One important thing to know is the difference between a flood warning and a flood watch.

  • If you see or hear “Flood Warning,” take action! A flood warning is issued when flooding is already happening or will happen soon. Some roads will be flooded.
    • Move to higher ground
    • Never drive through flooded roads!
  • If you see or hear “Flood Watch,” be prepared! A flood watch is issued when flooding is possible. Stay tuned to www.cchdmt.org or www.facebook.com/CCHDMT/ for the most up-to-date information, and be ready to seek higher ground.

Initial steps that you can take include:

  • Keep visiting http://www.cchdmt.org for up-to-date flooding information and a variety of fact sheets to help in preparing for, responding to, and cleaning up after flood waters. If larger scale flooding occurs, the official source of information for Cascade County is http://www.cchdmt.org. This site will be consistently updated with new information.
  • Have a plan in place should you need to evacuate
    • Develop a household communication plan in case your family gets separated at any time.
    • Have your emergency kit ready with enough medication, food, water, and supplies to last at least 72 hours. See ready.gov/build-a-kit for more information on preparing a kit.
    • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
    • Have a plan for your pets! Visit ready.gov/animals for help planning for animals and pets during an emergency.
  • Stay out of flood waters.  Do not drive through a flooded road.  The depth of water is not always obvious and may conceal hazards like electrical wires, toxins or chemicals, washed-out roads, and sharp objects.
  • Plan to take routes that specifically avoid flood-impacted areas. Responders, residents, transportation officials, and others may be working diligently to minimize the impact of flood waters. Additional people in the area can get in the way of these efforts, become stranded, or find themselves in danger.

To prepare your family & home for potential flooding:

  • Gather the emergency supplies you previously stocked in your home and stay tuned to local radio or television station for updates
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary
  • Have your immunization records handy or be aware of your last tetanus shot, in case you should receive a puncture wound or a wound becomes contaminated during or after the flood
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and plastic soda bottles with clean water—sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using a bleach solution, then rinse and fill with clean water
  • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills, and trash cans inside or tie them down securely

If you live near a stream or river*:

  • Purchase flood insurance if you haven’t already (it takes 30 days to go into effect)
  • Check sandbag availability in your area
  • Clear snow from drains and culverts near driveways
  • Move equipment, hay, or livestock in low-lying or flood-prone areas to higher ground
  • Call your local National Weather Service office (406-453-2081 for Great Falls) if you see any flooding or ice jams

*This information comes from a presentation provided to the Local Emergency Planning Committee on April 4, 2019. You can view the entire presentation—parts one and two—here.

Emergency supplies to have on hand:

  • Several clean containers for water, large enough for a 3- to 5-day supply of water (about five gallons for each person)
  • A 3- to 5-day supply of non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener
  • A first aid kit and manual, prescription medicines, and any special medical necessities
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries
  • Sleeping bags or extra blankets
  • Water-purifying supplies (like chlorine or iodine tablets) or unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach
  • Baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies
  • Disposable cleaning cloths, such as baby wipes, for the whole family to use in case bathing facilities are not available
  • Personal hygiene supplies like soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.
  • An emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Rubber boots, sturdy shoes, and waterproof gloves
  • Insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin, screens, or long-sleeved and long-legged clothing—this helps to protect against mosquitoes, which may gather in pooled water remaining after the flood

More resources are coming soon. Stay tuned! But should you wish to read resources from last year, see our Spring Safety post.