It is déjà vu for the residents of Augusta.
For the second year, floodwaters have hit the Augusta region. According to Lewis and Clark County Commissioner Susan Geise, this year may be worse than the flooding experienced in June of 2018.
“Time will tell,” she said. “Right now (morning of May 27) it is pretty soggy and the rain is still falling.”
“The residents of this town and area are very resilient,” Geise said. “They have once again banded together, filled sand bags and are helping each other where they can.”
Geise said there are a couple differences to last year’s flooding: there was a little more warning and time to prepare and secondly (and not as good), it is more widespread.
She estimated the floodwaters started flowing down Main Street in Augusta by mid-afternoon on Sunday and filled the street completely later in the day. “Thanks to the Augusta Chamber of Commerce and the Augusta ambulance, crews have filled thousands, I mean thousands, of sand bags,” Geise said. “Most residents and businesses expecting flooding had the sand bags in place before the floodwater arrived,” she added.
Geise emphasized the precautions being taken may not prevent flooding in basements and there is the potential the water could rise higher and go over the sandbags in areas.
Crews filled sand bags all Sunday and will continue Monday if needed.
Geise said the flooding is similar to last year. “It has been raining in Augusta off and on for several days but I understand the amount of precipitation has been even greater in the mountains,” she added. Elk Creek is overflowing at several points.
Similar to last year, Geise had to beat the closing roads to make it home. She was one of the last vehicles allowed to come via Bowman’s Corner before it closed.
Geise encouraged motorists traveling into Augusta to check road conditions as they will more than likely change at various times over the next few days depending on weather. On Monday, the road from Fairfield to Augusta was open, and the road from Bowman’s Corner to Augusta and the road from Simms to Augusta were both closed. The status of the road from Choteau to Augusta was unknown on Monday.
For a list of current road closures, contact the Lewis and Clark County Public Information Line at 447-1605
“I encourage motorists to use caution in travelling around Augusta and urge people to not travel down Main Street in Augusta. If they must to go, go slow to limit causing wakes and help prevent the water from going over the sand bags,” Geise said.
Geise said do not drive around road closed signs.
The community of Augusta is just a portion of the area experiencing flooding; lots of land in the area is underwater.
Thus far, Geise said the bridges and culverts made to replace destroyed ones last year are holding. “We also still have electricity as of Monday morning, which is a bonus,” she said.
“It is really too soon to tell the extent of the damage,” Geise said. “I do know there were ag producers who spent thousands or dollars to repair fences, structures and property damaged last year and I fear some was swept away again. They are resilient, but it is still hard.”
Despite it being a holiday weekend, Lewis and Clark public works officials have been out throughout the weekend monitoring water levels and checking roads and bridges possibly affected by the rising water.
She reminds those in the flooding area that their well water may be compromised. “They will need to boil water for themselves and their pet for consumption. Bottled water will be delivered to the Augusta Fire Station on Monday.
If anyone wishes to make donations, they can be directed to the Salvation Army. They ask at this time for monetary donations only. The Salvation Army will open on May 28 at 10 a.m. The phone number is 442-8244.
Updates on flooding conditions are being posted to the Augusta Chamber of Commerce and the Lewis and Clark Disaser and Emergency website. The chamber posted on the page their thank you to the town for coming together and being so helpful, looking out for one another and more. “It’s amazing to see how the residents of Augusta are the ones who take matters into their own hands, dig deep, get to work and help each other,” said a post on the chamber Facebook page.