Sun River residents hit by flooding rescued by emergency crews

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 19:47:11-04

Early this morning, multiple families dialed 911.

“It started coming up our street, you could literally watch it, inch by inch, just take over town,” Kerri and William Tanner recalled.

As water came gushing into their homes, they packed go-bags and grabbed their pets.

“”It’s time to get out, there’s no way we could use any of the facilities in the house. I don’t know, it started to get a little scary,” Lisa Fox said.

“We had everything pretty much ready just in case, but we were really not thinking it was going to happen,” Tanner said.

But making safety their first priority.

“All that counts, we got the kids and the animals out,” Tanner said.

Most residents we stopped recalled the horrific flooding in 2011 but all say this does not even compare.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen. There may have been something before us but it did flood in 2011 but it wasn’t this high,” Kent Kerchal said.

And some have come to terms with the consequences of living next to a river.

“It’s worth it to be here, it’s beautiful out here and like I said everybody helps everybody,” Fox said.

The National Weather Service says that "major flooding" is now expected to occur along the Missouri River between Cascade and Great Falls, including areas of Great Falls. 

The latest forecast for the Missouri River near Ulm is now predicted to reach 17 feet, which matches the historic crest from 1953, according to the NWS. Areas likely to be affected: Woodland Estates Road, the marina along Lower River Road, Country Club/Meadow Lark Golf Course, homes in the Country Club area in Great Falls.

The NWS posted on Facebook:

The current forecast of 17 feet at the river gauge at Ulm would match the historic crest from 1953. While this forecast contains some level of uncertainty, we have high confidence that the river will reach at least 15.5 feet. At 15 feet, flooding of the Woodland Estates Road area, including some homes, is expected. At 17 feet (the current forecast), flooding of homes in the Country Club area of Great Falls is expected.

The Great Falls Police Department sent the following message, and also used an automated phone call system to notify residents in the affected areas:

Due to the flood conditions being experienced in Central Montana we are anticipating the rising water may cause the Missouri and Sun Rivers to flood inside Great Falls city limits and the surrounding area. Hydrologists with the National Weather Service are predicting the Missouri River will crest around noon Thursday (6/21/18) comparable or greater than water levels experienced in 2011, to include the 100 year flood plain.

Known areas of concern for residents and businesses are.
• Woodland Estates
• Big Bend
• Lower River Road
• Flood Road

We recommend taking preliminary precautions for possible flooding and evacuation.

At 3:30pm residents may use the “fill your own” sandbag station set up in the northwest corner of the Home Depot parking lot (1500 Marketplace Drive, Great Falls). Please bring your own shovel. Shelters are being identified and will be announced in a subsequent message.

This is expected to be an extended event it is important to follow the City/County Health Department website, local television stations, and the GFPD Facebook page for updates.

DO NOT CALL 911 or the non-emergency line for information! Only call if you are experiencing an emergency that requires law enforcement, medical, of fire personnel to respond immediately.

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