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Ice jams causing flooding in Choteau

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Posted at 5:43 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 16:16:20-05

CHOTEAU — A flood warning has been issued in the city of Choteau because of ice jams in Spring Creek.

Water is currently flowing out of the creek and into both the residential area east of the creek on 3rd Street NE, 4th Street NE, and 3rd Avenue NE and the railroad right of way to the west.

The flow has improved in the creek and water that was backed up is dropping; the water has been reported up to six inches deep on some streets.

If the water levels continue to rise, some houses may be threatened by the flood waters.

The situation started on Tuesday when readings from the Teton River flow meter west of town began to show elevated water levels.

“As those changes indicated ice in the Teton, It normally is a strong indicator that the water level inside the city limits is going to rise," said Choteau mayor Chris Hindoien.



Town officials expect that they could see water damage in parts of town that haven’t seen such in a long time. If people do have damage, help is available: “If you start seeing water in your basement and you have never had it there before, we ask you to reach out to the city. You can call me, call the city," said Hindoien.

Hindoien shared the following information on the town's Facebook page:

It has been an eventful day that started off very early with hearing of water in crawlspaces and basements. We ask that you are cautious when traveling over on the NE side of town. Mother Nature and her accomplice, Spring Creek are creating some issues. Water is currently flowing out of the creek and into both the residential area east of the creek on 3rd St NE, 4th St NE and 3rd Ave NE and the railroad right of way to the west. The flow has improved in the creek and water that was backed up is dropping.

Teton County DES Coordinator Deb Coverdell is aware of the situation as is the State DES Duty Officer. We made them aware so in the unlikely event we need something, they are already up to speed.

The National Weather Service sent 3 individuals up today to look at the area and see what we are dealing with. I really enjoyed working with these folks. There are large areas of "Anchor Ice" that are effecting the flow on Spring Creek. These are at the culverts used to flow Spring Creek under roads and highways here in our town.

While they were here, water visibly dropped in areas of the creek as the water flow speed increased. We at the City of Choteau will be monitoring the creek, the flows and the ice throughout the evening and night.

NWS voiced concerns about ice forming again after sundown so with that in mind, please be diligent in your homes and crawlspaces. With the evening temps dropping and our daytime temps relatively brisk, this cycle may maintain for the foreseeable future. Groundhog Day scenario.....

Thank you for your patience with Mother Nature as well as with me as you Mayor as I literally get baptized into office.

Sincerely,

Chris Hindoien, Mayor