Flooding in Gallatin County
Gallatin County has many areas that are subject to flooding throughout the year. Primarily flooding occurs in the winter when rivers become plugged with ice, or in the spring due to rapid snowmelt and/ or rain storms. The conditions which result in flooding can occur quickly and are difficult to conduct long range forecasting for. Typically a little bit of planning ahead of time came make a big difference. The information below will provide you with how you can see current river heights and forecasts, as well as what you can do to prepare your property and families.
What Can I Do to Prepare for a Flooding Event?
First off, residents should ensure that creeks and ditches are clear of debris. Debris in waterways can cause water to back up and overflow sooner that it otherwise would. While removing simple debris is encouraged, residents should keep in mind that some modifications of the waterways may very well require coordination and permits from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservations or your local conservation district.
- Gallatin Conservation District – (406) 522-4011
- Montana DNRC Floodplain Management – (406) 444-6816
- Gallatin County Planning Department – (406) 582-3130
Residents should also consider flood insurance if they live in a flood prone area. Typically, homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding. Coverage for flooding is available to most people through specific Flood Insurance policies backed by the National Flood Insurance Program. People interested in Flood Insurance should contact their insurance agent for policy information.
Each jurisdiction participating in the National Flood Insurance Program has a floodplain administrator who is responsible for the program in their jurisdiction.
Spring runoff can quickly change from not being an issue to flooding causing great issues. Everyone that lives near waterways, or near areas that have previously seen flooding, should prepare a simple plan of what they will do should they be affected by flooding. Plans can be as simple as what flood fighting supplies are needed, where it will be obtained and utilized, and what you will take and go should evacuation be necessary.
A key issue with flooding to keep in mind is that it changes quickly. Flooding can change from no issue, to a big issue very quickly. When flooding occurs, people in the affected area should keep very close watch on the flooding conditions. It is key to keep in mind that flooding often peaks in the middle of the night catching people off guard when they wake up. Keep your awareness of current conditions up!
Residents that have flood prone property should consider stocking up with what ever “flood fighting” materials they feel they”ll need ahead of time. These supplies usually consist of material for creating dams and dikes such as sand bags or hay bales rapped in plastic. These supplies are much easier to obtain before an incident, than during a flooding event. They can typically be purchased at hardware and farm supply stores as well as gravel/ brick suppliers. Information on proper use of sand bags is available in these documents:
|Flood Fight Handbook (2009 Version) by US Army Corp of Engineers||1.0 MB||231|
|Sandbag summary by US Army Corps of Engineers and Santa Cruz County||230.5 KB||271|
Residents should also make sure they have a “72 Hour Kit” assembled. These kits should contain what you, you family, and pets need to be self sufficient for an extended peiod of time (at least 3 days).