The National Weather Service anticipates that several areas of the Missouri River and North Platte River could experience potentially record-breaking water levels this summer as snow melts and descends from the Dakotas and Rocky Mountains, and additional rainfall continues to be much higher than normal in some areas that feed the Missouri River Basin.
Many areas in our regions are already experiencing flooding, so we wanted to provide a quick update on what FEMA’s doing to be prepared in case the flooding worsens, and share some ways to stay safe if you live in the potentially affected area.
What FEMA’s doing
- We’ve been working closely with our state and federal partners since this winter, in anticipation of a busy spring and summer flood season.
- FEMA currently has a liaison in the Montana emergency operations center, a state liaison team in the Nebraska state emergency operations center to support the state in sheltering support and other requests as it responds to ongoing flooding; and an open field office in Bismarck, N.D., and Pierre, S.D., responding to ongoing and potential flooding. We have also been assisting the state of Wyoming with planning, through a team of liaisons at the state emergency operations center.
- An eleven-member FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team has also been deployed to the Montana state emergency operations center, to help coordinate if additional federal support is needed. Also, this week FEMA, state and local officials in Montana began conducting flood damage assessments.
- We remain in close contact with all of our state and local partners as they prepare for and respond to any potential severe weather. Specifically, we’re coordinating closely with numerous federal partners, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Civil Air Patrol and others assisting in the flood fight.
What you can do to stay safe
- Stay informed of local flood conditions with this map from the National Weather Service that shows those areas currently in flood stage. You can also monitor your complete local forecast at weather.gov or on your phone at mobile.weather.gov.
- Become familiar with flood terminology:
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Watch: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flash Flood Warning: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
- Make sure you take steps to protect your property and family from the damages of flooding. Visit Ready.gov/floods for more on getting prepared, or visit m.fema.gov on your smartphone for tips on staying safe before, during and after a flood.
This blog will continue to have the latest updates on FEMA’s role, so be sure to check back for more information. And be sure to check out your state’s emergency management website for localized updates.
- Purchasing flood insurance is another way you can protect your property from the financial damages of natural or man-made flooding. Flood insurance policies have a 30-day wait period before they become effective, so make sure to have it before you need it. More info at Floodsmart.gov.