A wet weekend is in store for western Montana, and river levels will continue to rise.
People hit hard by flooding in 2011 are keeping a close eye on the rain and the snowpack.
Some residents on Tower Street and Kehrwald Drive in Missoula’s Orchard Homes neighborhood are getting ready with sandbags. It’s the same neighborhood where some needed boats to get their homes three years ago.
Missoula resident Doug Pryor was cleaning up his office Friday, putting away his paint brushes. He’s putting some of his art projects on hold now, as he prepares for flood season.
“The warm weather is going to hit all at one time, and once it hits we're in a mess,” Pryor said.
It's a mess Pryor saw in 2011, when he had to use a boat to get to his house, when water flooded his office. You can still see the water lines.
“We just haven't had the money to do all the repairs from the last one,” he said.
And now he's getting ready for what could be another big flood season.
“The rivers are slightly elevated and have some color to them. You know the worst is yet to come, obviously.”
To get ready for the worst, Pryor looked at plenty of options, including flood insurance. But it isn't cheap. It would have cost him $7,917, and that's just for his home.
“The shop that we're in now, the office that we were in, the greenhouse and the other buildings. In order to have those covered we would have to schedule them in addition to the house,” Pryor said.
So the best bet this year will be sand. The Pryors have already had one load delivered and another is on its way. They have plenty of bags to fill. Pryor says it will likely take at least 2,000 of them. But he'd rather stack up the sandbags than pay the price for insurance.
“I can fill a lot of sandbags for $8,000, in lieu of paying that premium.”
Either way he's getting ready, even if his neighbors aren't
“I have noticed that there's not a lot of preparation going on down here and that surprises me.”
But for Pryor, what happened in 2011 isn't far from his mind.
“It cut a trench that was over 4 feet deep…with the boat with the motor at full throttle we couldn't go against the current.”
Click here for a look at spring flooding around Montana in 2011.