Yellowstone County flood warning: Pilot discusses potential dama - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Yellowstone County flood warning: Pilot discusses potential damage and current flood stage

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

The Yellowstone River is expected to rise due to the combination of snow melt and rainfall within the next few days.

Gary Blaine flew in his Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and observed the current levels of the Yellowstone River at 12.5 feet and discussed the potential damage the river could have at the forecasted 15-16 feet.

Blaine flew up and down the Yellowstone River from Laurel to Lockwood.

"You can see all the flood water around these houses right there," Blaine said.

Looking at the river from above, there was a clear view on how wide the river is. He saw homes on the verge of falling into the river, dykes placed to try and divert the rushing water, and the river trying to push back. He also observed some homeowners preparing for potential flooding on their land and the river trying to make new paths.

"We have zig zags back and forth. It goes over here, then it goes straight to that lower portion. So that is literally a pool game," Blaine said.

The water treatment plant in Billings is located right next to the river. The public works director said the department is trying to protect it as much as they can.

"The water treatment plan is our biggest concern," Mumford said. "The water won't come in from the riverside but it can come from the Garden Avenue side if the river gets up this high. We have several buildings that we're trying to build dykes around right now to make sure that we can keep things operational."

Also seen from above, a feedlot filled with pools of ground water with more than 1,500 cattle. KULR-8 spoke with the general manager of Bullseye Feedlot, Timothy Mark Smith, and asked how the ranch is holding up.

"We had about 360 yearling heifers down there," Smith said. "We moved them off yesterday and put them in pins down below."

Smith said if the water levels get worse, the cattle will get transported to a different location.


If the river rises another 3-4 feet, Blaine said certain homes or anything else on the river banks might not make it.
 

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