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Flooding, fog mix brings treacherous conditions to Great Falls area

Posted at 2:16 PM, Mar 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-24 16:16:07-04

GREAT FALLS – A combination of both flooding and lingering overnight fog has created dangerous road and outdoor conditions in the Great Falls area. Officials are warning to avoid certain roadways, such as Dent Bridge Road and the Sun River vicinity. They urge to take extra precautions while driving and to prepare for flood scenarios near Muddy Creek.

As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning, the Cascade County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office (CCSO) wrote on social media from the Sun River Bridge, saying, “the ice jam is breaking up and the water is flowing fast.” The post reassured area residents that Vaughn Volunteer Fire and Rescue would be “keeping an eye on the situation.”

“Avoid being near the river,” CCSO added.

The Black Eagle Volunteer Fire Department also took to Facebook with some words of warning. “Dent Bridge Rd /HWY 87 road is washing out,” the fire department wrote, continuing, “Please be careful out there with high water everywhere.”

As MTN News reported Saturday, the Cascade County DES website lists several recommendations for individuals at risk of flash flooding, including: “know your evacuation route;” “move furniture and belongings to upper floors;” and “keep materials like sandbags, plastic sheeting, plywood and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing.”

Only worsening the already hazardous elements, northern and central Montana are experiencing dense fog. The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Great Falls office told MTN News Sunday morning “the fog is due to all of the low-level moisture.”

“That moisture is coming from two locations,” NWS said. “One is all of the moisture at the surface from the melting of the unusually deep snowpack. There’s still an inch or more of liquid equivalent where the snow is still on the ground, and the second is from moisture generated by weak disturbances and weak upslope winds out of the east and northeast.”

“The second reason, besides the moisture, is the really weak winds across the area where fog is occurring,” NWS added.

“There is no mechanism to push the moisture out currently, so we have this soupy mess that will likely linger most of the day and perhaps into the night,” an office representative said.

NWS reiterated on Facebook, saying, “Patchy dense fog will linger across the Hi-Line to central Montana into early this afternoon. “Visibility in this fog may become one-half mile or less at a time.”

“Travelers and those outdoors should be mindful of changing conditions, slow down, and allow a few extra travel minutes,” the post said.

MTN News and STORMTracker Weather will provide weather and flooding updates should they worsen or improve.

Story by Zachary Schermele