From the Friday, June 10, edition of the Miles City Star:
By Marla Prell
City, county and state officials met Friday morning at City Hall to discuss how to respond in the event of local flooding - a concern fueled by frequent rains and approaching spring runoff.
The Yellowstone River at Miles City reached 12.88 feet as of noon Friday, and was expected to hit 13.2 feet sometime Saturday and remain there until Sunday. Flood stage is 13 feet. At its peak, the Yellowstone's flow is expected to top 68,000 cubic feet per second. The US Geological Survey predicts the river will stay slightly below flood stage from mid-Sunday through at least Tuesday. Thunderstorms are in the forecast through Tuesday.
Earlier this spring, the Yellowstone reached 16.51 feet, with flooding in several areas. Officials reviewed the Incident Command system that is part of the city's Master Plan in case of emergencies. The Incident Command system provides a clear structure for decision making, communication and activation of emergency services. The mayor is at the top of the structure, which branches off into fire, ambulance and law enforcement services, and includes the Miles City Council, Disaster and Emergency Services, the City Public Works and Finance departments, and the Red Cross.
Miles City Fire & Rescue Chief Dale Berg will be the Incident Commander, the person responsible for directing and controlling resources. Dwayne Andrews, public information officer for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 7, will also serve as information officer in the Incident Command chart. A couple of positions have not yet been finalized. Other topics discussed Friday were sandbagging and access to heavy equipment.
Beginning Monday, there will be daily briefings about the flood situation, Andrews said. The briefings will run from 10-10:30 a.m. in the City Hall conference room. Officials will use the time to fine-tune response plans and share information. Briefings are open to the public, and questions may be asked after the sessions.
Also, periodic press releases will be issued to update people on flood issues.