Minor flooding as Yellowstone River reaches 9.6 feet

The Yellowstone River hit flood stage Tuesday afternoon, rising to 9.6 feet.

Park County Disaster and Emergency Services reported minor flood impacts to some private property and fishing accesses in an e-mail.

The Yellowstone is expected to remain at flood stage Wednesday and is forecasted to rise to 9.9 feet on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Flood stage on the Yellowstone is 9.5 feet; moderate flood stage is 10 feet. 

In an e-mail, Park County DES advised residents to prepare for flooding comparable to what was experienced in 2011, when the river rose to 10.15 feet. 

“We do not anticipate the flooding we saw in 1997, which was associated with a record river level of 10.72 feet,” the DES e-mail says.

Greg Coleman, interim director of Park County DES, said the Sheriff’s Office and DES have received reports of people going to the river to “see what’s going on.” 

“The greatest risks to public safety are people getting too close to the river,” he wrote. “River banks can be undercut and compromised, giving way without warning. Do not approach the river. Supervise children when near the river. Do not drive through flood waters.”

Sandbags are available at local businesses. Residents may find sand bag information on the county website, www.parkcounty.org. The county is providing sand free of charge at the Park County Fairgrounds, Rural Fire District #1 at Pine Creek and the Paradise Valley Fire Station in Emigrant. 

The Shields River dropped slightly to crests of a little less than 5 feet, but is expected to rise to 5.3 feet by Thursday. Flood stage on the Shields is 5.5 feet. 

According to the National Weather Service, water levels are expected to slowly drop this weekend.