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Flooding issues near the Hi-Line in Montana



Montana – Parts of the Hi-Line are currently suffering major floods due to the recent weather’s melting of Montana’s snowpack, which increases the likelihood of heavy snowmelt.

While Blaine County officials claim the flooding wasn’t as catastrophic as it could have been, the damage is still present, and they are prepared for additional floods with additional snow that still needs to melt. Several counties have declared disasters, including Blaine County.

“There are still concerns throughout all of Blaine County with the snow that we got last week and the additional snow that we’re going to see this week,” Blaine County emergency manager Haley Belk said. “The rain is going to continue to cause issues. We are going to see the creeks and the Milk River take another rise and cause some issues for us. We’re hoping that it’s a little slower so it doesn’t cause any major impacts.”

Although there is cause for concern given that several roads were damaged and even washed out, officials, like Blaine County Commissioner Miles Hutton, are nevertheless prepared for what is to come.

“We didn’t lose a lot completely, didn’t have them wash out completely, but we have quite a few that probably got ate into a third to two-thirds, you know, across where the water washed back under the culvert,” Hutton said. “We have the equipment ready to go if we have to use it and it’s based on priority too, you know, certain roads have way more traffic than others.”

Roads are not the only ones affected by the water; farmers and ranchers are as well. Tony English and his wife Dixie reside above the flood plain, not far from Zurich. He claims that, despite the risk, they are currently staying in an RV in Havre even though, conceivably, they could still be there.

They cannot risk additional floods by remaining at home given the risk. Fortunately, though, some of their neighbors are offering assistance.

“We’ve got really good neighbors. We’ve only had pasture land flooded this year so far, so the animals are all safe but I’ve got my neighbor that was going over when the river was really high. Every other day he’d go over to check. I had another neighbor across the river. He feeds for me. We really don’t want to go, but it’s a practical thing to do.”

Jon Baker, a farmer in Blaine County who lives just outside of Harlem, has not yet begun sowing his crops for this year. To put everything into perspective, they finished seeding on April 15 of last year, and here we are almost halfway through May and they have yet to begin.

“We were getting nervous. You never know what Mother Nature is going to bring while there,” Baker said. We just didn’t know if the drainage systems were going to hold. The ditches were all full of water. If one of those washes out, it can definitely make things a lot worse.”

He claims that although the water has mostly subsided from their property, between 120 and 130 acres remain underwater. As they wait to plant seeds, Baker thinks the outlook is growing more promising every day.

“Things are looking up and watching that giant lake up on my property up here,” He added. “It gets smaller and smaller every day and that makes me smile. I go check it, sit, and watch the water. It’s like watching paint dry sometimes, but, you know, every few gallons that goes over the and over the end of the drainage ditch, there is going to be a few more gallons closer to getting out in the field and getting the crop started for the year.”

For more information about the floods, Blaine County citizens are encouraged to like the Blaine County Road Department’s Facebook page at

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