Wearing waders and boots, Doug Pryor looked out over a steady stream of water that flowed over lawns and driveways near Kehrwald Drive and north Tower Street on Saturday.

Officials issued a flood warning for Missoula Thursday as rain and snowmelt caused the Clark Fork River to rise.

The Orchard Homes areas and north Tower Street were the most affected by the flood, according to Adriane Beck, the director of Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management.

The Clark Fork River reached 9.1 feet around 4 p.m. Saturday, surpassing the minor flood stage of 7.5 feet. It’s expected to crest at 9.2 feet Saturday night and then start trending downward throughout the week.

Residents of affected areas tried to brace for flooding with sandbags, which are available for free at Fort Missoula through donations to United Way of Missoula County.

Pryor was among those who used sandbags to block off his property. However, those sandbags were knocked over by floating debris which Pryor said was leftover from Northwest Energy's installation of several new poles a few months ago.

"They cut down the big cottonwood trees and the debris from cutting those down tipped over my sandbags," Pryor said.

The nearby Bitterroot River also surpassed its minor flood stage of 11 feet Saturday afternoon when it measured at just over 11 feet late Saturday afternoon.

Although water levels are expected to recede this week, Beck said it's important for people to stay alert and pay attention.

A flood advisory was first issued for Missoula this year on April 23. Warm temperatures that melted snowpack, in addition to rain, resulted in rising waters that left residents throughout Missoula and surrounding areas concerned.

Ken Aukschun and his son, Shane, also filled up sandbags at Fort Missoula to use on their property near Petty Creek.

Ken held the burlap sacks while Shane shoveled sand.

They two said they were surprised there weren't more people filling bags at Fort Missoula Saturday morning, although they pointed out the dwindling pile of sand that measured a few inches off the ground and stood next to another pile, which was three to four feet and appeared untouched.

Ken said they're used to having flooding in the spring and that it was nice to be able to use the bags for free since he had to pay for some the previous year.

While the Aukschuns piled the bags in their truck to protect their property, Pryor surveyed his property and contemplated how to fix the sandbags he positioned at the end of his driveway.  

Pryor said he's lived on his property for 43 years and is frustrated that there have not been repairs to a nearby aging levy, which is on private property.

Looking out over what appeared to be a river flowing over his driveway, Pryor said he would like to see even minor repairs to the levy.

In the meantime, he's doing what he can.

"I’m going to try to go back by boat and if it’s not too deep, get the sandbags," Pryor said.

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