Floodwaters knock power poles over river in Missoula

Posted at 7:52 PM, May 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-13 21:52:25-04

MISSOULA – Missoula County authorities are reporting that floodwaters have brought down power poles at the end of Tower Street, spanning across the river to Schmidt Lane. 

Power lines are in the water and are causing a significant safety hazard for anyone recreating on the Clark Fork River. 

The utility company has de-energized the lines and several power cables are arched across the river. 

The Incident Management Team is working in conjunction with Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Northwestern Energy to address the utility lines across the river.

Missoula County said that they are experiencing an increase in debris from trees, outbuildings, and trailer homes breaking up and floating down the river due to flooding.

Fishing access sites are currently closed in the area and extreme caution is advised for those working in or around flood waters.

(May 11, 2018) MISSOULA – Missoula County authorities said three mobile homes that were washed away in the Clark Fork River were probably destroyed. 

They believe the trailers do not pose a further threat to a critical bridge downriver. 

The mobile homes were loosened from their foundations as waters rose rapidly on the Clark Fork earlier this week.

Flood responders initially reached the scene by boat, but there was no way to get heavy equipment into the location at the end of Schmidt Road west of Missoula.

On Thursday, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office used drone video to try to create a plan to divert some of the water so equipment could reach the trailers.

The concern was that the mobile homes would come loose and wash downstream, coming up against the Kona Bridge, which is the only river crossing between Missoula and Frenchtown.

The bridge is already getting slammed by high water with just a few feet of clearance above the flood.

But on Friday afternoon, emergency leaders said it appeared the trailers had broken apart and others may still be submerged and debris could be coming downstream.

"You know, water’s still rising. There are some concerns about those other mobile homes there that have been knocked off their foundation," said Incident Command Spokesman Mel Holtz. "And so now it looks like there may be, especially with the rising water, some additional debris, some additional trailers breaking apart and possibly heading downstream."

Holtz said in addition to the mobile home debris, people should be extremely careful around the rivers now because of all the logs and other debris being torn loose by the floodwaters.