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Be aware of and take precautions for spring runoff



Spring runoff, a notoriously difficult to predict phenomenon, is soon upon us in the Gallatin Valley. PHOTO COURTESY OF PEXELS.COM


GALLATIN COUNTY – As we move into spring, the weather over the next 90 days will have a large impact on our spring runoff. It is challenging in the middle of March to predict if we will get wet spring snow dumps, a quick spike in hot weather, or heavy warm rain – all of which impact how quickly our winter snow pack will melt off.

Ideally, our snow will melt off continually over time. But when enough of these weather contributors occur, the snow can melt faster than our waterways can accommodate, which causes flooding.

At this point, we cannot predict if flooding will occur, but we have a heavy snowpack on the valley floor and in the mountains. If you live near a waterway, now is the time to make sure as much water as possible stays in the waterway.

Take some time now to do the following: clean debris out of culverts and from under bridges; clear debris out of ditches and other waterways; make sure there is a clear path for snow to melt away from your buildings; and clear snow piles away from doors, windows and other places that make it easy for melting snow to affect you.

Next, spend a few minutes to develop a plan on what you will do if flooding affects you. Identify where and when you could be affected by flooding, develop a plan to keep water from getting there and identify what you would need in order to implement your plan and where you will get supplies.

If flooding does occur, closely monitor the water conditions and predicted weather. Water levels change quickly and often peak in the middle of the night. If it looks like your plan may need to be enacted to protect your property, get the supplies and don’t waste time. Once flooding occurs, it is too late to prevent damage.

Once implemented, continue to monitor the situation and be prepared to make adjustments. Water is hard to predict and it is has to go somewhere. Be safe around floodwater as it can be extremely dangerous and often catches people off guard.

Visit for more information on flooding and preparedness.

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