Flooding on rivers averted


City crews barricaded portions of the dike road, along the Tongue River, on Sunday due to rising waters. 

City Public Works Director Scott Gray expected the barricades to be taken back down Monday.

Gray explained that an ice jam, three to five miles long, came down the Yellowstone River, while there was ice jammed in the Tongue River from the confluence with the Tongue back past the interstate bridge. 

What could have been a bad situation turned out well.

Gray said the Yellowstone’s ice jam was “rolling pretty good” down the river Sunday, and as it went by the confluence of the Tongue River, it opened the river up.

That was around 6 p.m. 

The ice jam “was actually a blessing,” he said.

According to the United States Geological Survey data, Yellowstone River’s water level briefly rose to near the flood stage (13 feet) Sunday but is back below it again. Monday morning it was measured at 11.14 feet.

The Tongue River was at 9.89 feet at Miles City Monday morning. Flood stage begins at 10 feet.

There was a lot of traffic on the dike road during the weekend, but the public was good at respecting the barricades. The road dips down beneath a railroad bridge and the Main Street bridge, and those areas are impassable. 

Gray said city crews are vigilantly patrolling the dike, which is structurally in good shape.

They will continue to monitor it as more rain and snow fall is expected this week. River levels can also be affected by the snow melt as the weather warms up.