Washakie County Flood Preparations - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Washakie County Flood Preparations

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WYOMING -

Just a month after river ice jams flooded Worland, Washakie County officials are preparing for another flood, from snowmelt. That happened in the Northern Wyoming County in 2011. Snowpack conditions are reportedly worse this year.

National Guard crews continued to fill thousands of sandbags days after river ice jams flooded Greybull, Manderson, and Worland just a month ago.

Eighty people were evacuated in Worland. Eight homes were damaged by flood waters. Huge ice chunks, some as big as tractor trailer rigs, ended up on the banks of the Big Horn River. Worland's fire chief, Chris Kocher says it's the biggest ice jam flood even the old timers have seen.

Kocher says he's lived in Worland more than twenty years, and, "It's never happened since I've lived here."

But, the little town of Ten Sleep, thirty miles away, was flooded in 2011, when a sudden downpour melted a heavy snowpack in the Big Horn Mountains above it. Because the town has three mountain drainage's, emergency officials are asking everyone to help protect it.

Washakie County Emergency Management Director Kimball Croft said, "To go to Ten Sleep fill an additional 16,000 sandbags within the next month."

Croft said churches, the Worland High School FFA, and the Ten Sleep schools are already planning to help.

He explained how the Ten Sleep students will help. "They'll take the PE classes over to the sand piles which are just 100 yards away and start filling sand bags."

On April 15, ten emergency responding groups will meet with Ten Sleep residents at the school, to make plans.

Croft said, "Everything from the National Weather Service to Washakie County Emergency Management Services and what we do. "

The fire chief says he has 100,000 empty bags ready to be filled. He hopes they won't have to use them, but this year's snowpack is about 150% of average.

Kocher said, "We're hoping that we don't get a really rapid warming trend."

Kocher said the normal cool weather snowmelt will last until early June, so they are hoping for mild weather for the next several weeks.

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