Gianforte visits Flathead County amid flooding and pre-evacuation notices
Governor Greg Gianforte toured Flathead County on Monday to get an update on flooding in the area. Conditions on the ground, evacuation notices and orders keep shifting along with river levels.
At the Old Steel Bridge Fishing Access Site just east of Kalispell, the parking lot is under a few inches of water. However, the latest flood concern is to the south where the Flathead River and other rivers flow into Flathead Lake, Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said. After expected rainfall totals exceeded forecasts over the weekend, the lake is now full.
“The lower valley is a high-priority concern today because we are seeing that lake rise, that lake effect essentially coming up stream,” Heino said.
Pre-evacuation notices were issued Monday for areas of southern Evergreen and low-lying areas north of Flathead Lake. With Flathead Lake levels rising, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office is also keeping an eye on communities like Bigfork, Heino said.
Gianforte says the state stands ready to assist Flathead County if needed.
All available units and volunteers are going door to door to warn residents, Heino said. The sheriff’s department is OK so long as river levels recede in the coming days, he noted.
Whether that will happen is hard to say as predictions from the National Weather Service keep shifting.