An all-night thunderstorm dropped a record amount of rain onto Glasgow Tuesday, overwhelming the capacity of the storm sewer system. As water drained down to the south side, it flooded the underpass and Fifth and Sixth Avenues South, forcing police to place barricades and close the streets. Many basements were flooded, either by rain water or backed up sewage. Lawns were lakes of standing water.
Water threatened Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, coming near the north doors of the Glasgow Clinic. Four portable pumps were already in use but not keeping up, so volunteer firemen brought in five pumper trucks and hauled hose up the hill behind the hospital to dump the water into the Milk River.
Long Run Fire Chief Bob Hansen said they didn’t want to run dirty water through their pumpers, but they had to.
Cherry Creek rampaged in a flash flood in the late afternoon, just one week after its first such performance this year, but worse. At about 5:30 p.m. the water rose quickly, running over Skylark Road south of the Ridgerunners Saddle Club, covering Sunnyside Golf Course and spreading out along U.S. 2, where it flooded Thompson and Son’s property again.
Some residents on Skylark Road fled with belongings, including horses in a trailer. At least one family was stranded by the sudden flood and was rescued with the Valley County Search and Rescue Team’s air boat. The road was closed by the Montana Highway Patrol.
Tuesday’s rainfall was 1.73 inches, a record, but within 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday, the Glasgow office of the National Weather Service measured 1.93 inches. Glasgow has received 2.25 inches of rain so far this month, and 12.64 inches since January, which is the normal amount for a whole year.
The problem with the city’s sewer system was the amount of water in the streets, according to Robert Kompel, Glasgow’s director of public works. It poured into manholes and forced its way into the sanitary sewer system, which backed up into some people’s basements.
Already-flooded roads in the county got deeper under water and some new places flooded. A torrent about a foot deep poured over High School Road, about halfway between Glasgow High School and Highway 24 North. Willow Creek in south Valley County was reportedly running over in eight places.
The rain stopped Tuesday afternoon, giving the pumps around the city a chance to catch up. By evening the water was receding from some flooded streets, but lingering in ponds at the corners. The lowest parts of Glasgow were still under water.