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Yaak River and Eastside roads closed in Lincoln County

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | June 14, 2022 5:15 PM

Heavy rainfall has created conditions which led to the closure of two roads in Lincoln County Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Montana Department of Transportation, Yaak River Road, also known as National Forest 508, is closed from mile marker 4 to 18 due to rock slides that have left debris on the road. The conditions are described as extremely dangerous in the area.

The road is closed until further notice and the closure is being enforced, according to state highway officials.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office issued a Code Red alert to residents in the Yaak River Road and Eastside Road/National Forest 176 areas. The Eastside Road is closed from mile marker 6 to 17 due to washouts on the road.

The Sheriff’s Office reported receiving multiple reports of road hazards in the area due to flooding.

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Thomas Lane said there were no reports of residential flooding Tuesday at 5:40 p.m.

“As always, we are telling folks to not drive, walk or swim through flood waters,” Lane said. “It’s better to turn around than have something bad happen. We’re also recommending people not drive into these areas to see what’s happening. It can be dangerous and hamper efforts of those who may be working in the area.”

According to the National Weather Service, the Yaak River near Troy was flowing at 8.68 feet at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday. Flood stage on the river is 8 feet.

The Weather Service’s flood advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Wednesday in parts of Northwest Montana, including Lincoln, Sanders and Flathead counties. It said one-half to 1.5 inches of rain are expected, which will result in minor flooding. Other impacts include minor flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas, overflowing poor drainage areas, elevated river or stream flows and ponding of water in urban or other areas is occurring or is imminent.

Also, Kootenai National Forest officials are asking people to use caution when utilizing any forest roads or trails during times of high runoff.

They also said the Kootenai River drainage is 324% above normal for this time.