by Catherine Haug
I have volunteered to help get the Bigfork Emergency Info website up and running, with links to important informational about preparedness for everyone to access. These include things like:
- Supplies kits and checklists;
- Suggestions on how to be ready for whatever may come;
- National Weather Service and their Missoula Hydrograph site that tracks river levels;
- Guide to evacuation levels;
- Sheltering in place;
- FEMA and Red Cross info sites and brochures.
About impending flooding
Be aware that even though your home may be on high ground, you could still be negatively impacted by the flood. For example:
- Road and/or bridge closures could leave you isolated and unable to get to a grocery store, etc.;
- The ground beneath your home could be saturated from underground springs or ground water, and flood your basement/crawl space even though you are well above streams and lakes. (This problem is already affecting people in the Bigfork area);
- If you are on a hillside, overflowing springs can cause rock and/or mud slides that could damage your property or home, or block access to roads.
Your most important asset in the face of any emergency is your neighbors, as you all can help each other deal with whatever may come, and provide a sense of security in the face of disaster.
Here are some links to information on preparing your family and home for the flood (or other disasters). So far, here’s what is listed (These are also available in the Links section (right-hand column of the Home page):
- FEMA ‘Ready’ Brochure (pdf)
- FEMA ‘Ready’ Site
- FEMA Main page
- FEMA Site Index
- Flathead County Office of Emergency Services (OES)
- Lake County Directory
- Red Cross of Montana
Weather & Water Info
- DNRC: Snow-Water Equivalents
- NOAA: Missoula Forecast Office
- NOAA: Missoula Hydrograph (River Levels)
- USGS: Water Data for Montana
I strongly urge you to check out the Be Prepared link. It is divided into two section:
- Preparedness Information Sites (at the top) is a list of links to emergency and information sites;
- Preparedness Brochures (at the bottom) is a list of printable pdf brochures organized by topic, that includes what to do should disaster strike, and how to prepare in advance for disaster and/or evacuation.
The Missoula Hydrograph site provides graphs about valley river levels relative to flood stage. Note that the graph for the Swan River is in the Ferndale/Swan River area (above the dam), and does not provide information about the Wild Mile nor Bigfork Bay.