Augusta residents caught off guard by area flooding

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 20:37:23-04

AUGUSTA – After days of rain, residents in Augusta said they were expecting some flooding but what they got was much more severe and happened much faster than anticipated.

Dwayne Nelson lives in Augusta along Main Street, one of the areas hardest hit by the flooding. Nelson noticed water starting to collect on the road around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. As time went on, the water continued to rise.

"I think we all anticipated there would be some flooding around the creek because in the spring, it’s not unusual to get flooding there,” Nelson said.

But as the waters continued to grow with no signs of stopping, Nelson became concerned. The water eventually reached his home, submersing his basement and covering his frontyard and backyard garden in more than a foot of water in some places.

"I’ve been coming up here all my life. I’ve never seen the water get back into this part of town," Nelson said.

Nelson was using pumps to remove water from the basement, but those quickly became overwhelmed. He was forced to shut off his power before the water reached his electrical box in the basement.

Other residents uphill from Main Street like Sandi White are in relative safety.

"We live two blocks off of Main Street and we’re okay,” White said. “I was just amazed at the way it is down there"

Despite the conditions, the community is coming together.

“Everybody’s been out helping everybody else,” Nelson said. Neighbors have been helping deliver and place sandbags.

Nelson said the most frustrating part is waiting for the waters to recede to examine the damage left behind.

"It is so devastating for all concerned. Your heart just goes out to everyone,” White said.  

The flooding is continuing to affect residents and travelers from areas stretching from Augusta to Rogers Pass to the Sun River area.

Here is the latest information:

Montana Red Cross will open an evacuation shelter in Choteau on Tuesday, June 19, at 7 p.m. in response to Sun River flooding. The shelter will be located at the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1000 1st St. N.E., in Choteau. Red Cross shelters provide meals, a safe place to stay, information and access to other community resources. No reservations are required. Service animals are welcome. The Sun River has risen dramatically following significant rainfall over the last several days. Communities including Augusta, Simms,  and Vaughn, as well as Highway 200, are expected to be impacted. Families who need services should call the Montana Red Cross at 800-272-6668.

Per Deputy Joyce Highway 200 is CLOSED from Hwy 279 to Hwy 287 due to failing culverts.. Rogers Pass is closed.

MT-21 – Augusta to Simms: Bridge washed out ½ mile east of Augusta.

Road closed at Simms. LOCAL ACCESS ONLY.

US-287 – 2 miles south of Augusta to 6 miles north of Augusta. Road closed due to flooding.

Barricades are in place at MM 37 south of Augusta (Elk Creek) and at MM 46 north of Augusta (Jct S-408). LOCAL ACCESS ONLY.

MT-200 – Bowman’s Corner (MM 109) to Junction with S-278 (MM 82.8). 

Road closed due to culvert failure at MM 95.5 (approximately 5 miles west of junction with S-434)

Barricades are in place at Bowman’s Corner and Junction with S-279.  Detour in place. LOCAL ACCESS ONLY.

S-565 – Simms to Fairfield cut across

Road closed at the south (Simms) end due to flooding. (MM 0-1); Barricades are in place. LOCAL ACCESS ONLY from the northern end.

The flooding is getting worse in and around Augusta.

From the Augusta-area Chamber of Commerce: URGENT: The bridge over Elk Creek is about to collapse. Avoid the area. Right in front of Dellwo’s. It’s collapsing. Not letting cars go either direction on Highway 21 between milepost 1 and 287.

From the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Office at 2:22 pm: The bridge over MT-21 a half mile east of Augusta has been washed out. MT-21 is closed from Simms to Augusta. Highway 287 is closed from the Augusta Airport, south of town, to Hwy 408 to the north.

From the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Office previously: Water is flowing over Hwy 287 near Elk Creek outside Augusta. In some locations the water is reported to be 10 inches deep. The DOT has closed that part of the road and is asking drivers to use extreme caution in this area.

Closed roads:
Hwy 287 from 200 to Augusta
Hwy 21 from 200 to Augusta
Hwy 435 from 200 to Augusta
Smith Creek Rd
Elk Creek Rd

Pamela Goodwin posted on the KRTV Facebook page that Augusta Rodeo Chairman Ben Arps says the rodeo grounds in Augusta are underwater. A decision on whether or not this weekend’s rodeo will continue as planned will be made Thursday.

MT FWP says that the Medicine River Fishing Access Site and the Fort Shaw Fishing Access Site have been closed due to the high water. Both sites have been gated and will remain closed until the Sun River recedes, and the area can be cleaned up.

The U.S. Postal Service says that the rising waters have created access issues for four area Post Offices. The following offices will be closed until further notice: Augusta 59410; Sims 59477; Fort Shaw 59477; and Sun River 59483. The mail is not at risk and is being held at the distribution center

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