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Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

Heavy rain brought flash flooding to Helena Sunday

A flash flood in Helena on Sunday carried debris downtown, swelled into some buildings and downed a few trees.

The National Weather Service estimates more than an inch of rain fell in the Helena area within about 20 minutes, leading to the flash flood.

Helena’s city transportation director David Knoepke says officials have not yet finished their damage assessment.

“It’s a fairly big drainage area for everything in the downtown area that all kind of goes down to one spot that crosses through the storm system. So that’s partially why there was some flooding in the area.”

YWCA Helena reported on social media Sunday that two to three inches of water flooded its basement, destroying mattresses and children’s beds. Lewis & Clark Library also reported minor flooding in its building, but no books were lost.

A couple of downtown roads were closed on Sunday, but all are open now. City street sweepers are working to clear downtown of debris.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.