• Short Summary

    GREAT FALLS, MONT., JUNE 9-(AP)-DEADLY, DESTRUCTIVE FLOODWATER POURED OVER LOWLANDS AT RECORD LEVELS TODAY LEAVING AT LEAST 30 DEAD UPSTREAM, DOZENS MISSING AND HUNDREDS HOMELESS.

  • Description

    GREAT FALLS, MONT., JUNE 9-(AP)-DEADLY, DESTRUCTIVE FLOODWATER POURED OVER LOWLANDS AT RECORD LEVELS TODAY LEAVING AT LEAST 30 DEAD UPSTREAM, DOZENS MISSING AND HUNDREDS HOMELESS.

    MUCH OF THE FLOOD'S PUNCH WAS YET TO COME, BUT ESTIMATES OF THE DAMAGE ALREADY RANGED INTO THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IT WAS CALLED BY MONTANA NATIONAL GUARD OFFICERS THE WORST NATURAL DISASTER IN STATE HISTORY.

    FED BY RAMPAGING MOUNTAIN STREAMS, MAJOR RIVERS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE SWEPT AWAY CONCRETE AND STEEL HIGHWAY BRIDGES, COURSED THROUGH COMMUNITIES AND DESTROYED LIVESTOCK AND CROPS.

    TRIBUTARY STREAMS POUNDED THROUGH FOUR EARTHEN DAMS YESTERDAY, SENDING WALLS OF WATER CASCADING DOWN ON HELPLESS RESIDENTS.

    CHIEF TROUBLEMAKER AND RECORD BREAKER WAS THE SUN RIVER, A MOUNTAIN STREAM THAT JOINS THE MISSOURI RIVER AT GREAT FALLS. THE SUN CARRIED THE MASSIVE RUN-OFF OF LATE-MELTING SNOW-PACKS AND FIVE DAYS OF HEAVY RAINS MEASURING UP TO 6 INCHES.

    AT GREAT FALLS, A CITY OF 70,000 A FLOOD CREST OF 24 TO 25 FEET WAS EXPECTED BY MIDNIGHT. THIS WOULD BE 5 FEET HIGHER THAN A 1953 FLOOD ON THE SUN THAT CAUSED DAMAGE OF $5,042,400.

    UPSTREAM FROM GREAT FALLS, THE FLOOD CREST WAS VISIBLE FROM THE AIR AS IT ROLLED ALONG OVER LOW-LYING FIELDS AND HOMES AT A SLOW RATE OF SPEED.

    AUTHORITIES SAID MOST OF THEM AMY HAVE FOUND SHELTER ON HIGH GROUND. HOWEVER, THERE WERE FEARS THAT SOME RESIDENTS OF THE BIRCH CREEK AREA WERE CAUGHT IN A 20-FOOT WALL OF WATER THAT CRASHED THROUGH A BROKEN DAM AT SWIFT RESERVOIR, AN IMPOUNDMENT OWNED BY AN IRRIGATION COMPANY.

    THE OTHER TWO DAMS THAT GAVE WAY HELD CITY WATER SUPPLIES--ONE FOR CHOTEAU AND ONE FOR EAST GLACIER.

    AIR FORCE HELICOPTERS, JET-POWERED MODELS CARRYING A NUMBER OF PERSONS, CRISS-CROSSED THE DEVASTATED AREA, PICKING UP BODIES AND RESCUING STRANDED PERSONS. AT LEAST ONE BODY WAS FOUND IN A TREE.

    A TEMPORARY MORGUE WAS SET UP AT AN INDIAN MISSION SOUTH OF BROWNING. A CIVIL DEFENSE WORKER SAID 26 BODIES WERE BROUGHT THERE.

    EARLIER, THERE WERE REPORTS FROM POLICE IN GLACIER COUNTY OF AN INDIAN WOMAN NAMED GRANT WHO WAS SWEPT AWAY WITH FOUR CHILDREN AS THEY TRIED TO FLEE IN A PICKUP TRUCK. WITNESSES SAID THEY WERE FAUGHT IN THE FLASH FLOOD ON TWO MEDICINE CREEK.

    A 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL, PEGGY BRADLEY, WAS FOUND DROWNED NEAR VALIER.

    TWO MOTORISTS, IVAN (HAP) WILLIAMS, 48, OF ST. MARY'S AND STANFORD CREIGHTON, 35, CARDSTON, ALTA., WERE DEAD--WILLIAMS APPARENTLY DROWNED IN A FLOODED CREEK AND CREIGHTON DEAD OF EXPOSURE BY A ROADSIDE. A108312PMS NM
    A100DX
    THE RIVER SWEPT OVER THE FLOOD GAUGE AT SIMMS AT A LEVEL OF ABOUT 13 FEET. THE PREVIOUS RECORD LEVEL AT SIMMS WAS 8.3 FEET IN JUNE 1953 AND FLOOD STAGE IS 6.5.

    DOWNSTREAM FROM GREAT FALLS, A SYSTEM OF MAJOR FLOOD CONTROL DAMS WAS REPORTED CAPABLE OF HANDLING THE RISING WATERS. GATES ON UPSTREAM DAMS WERE CLOSED TO TAKE PRESSURE OFF THE RIVER.

    WHILE THE SUN AND OTHER STREAMS ON THE EASTERN SLOPE TURNED INTO RAGING TORRENTS, THE BIG FLATHEAD RIVER ON THE WESTERN SLOPE WAS AT ITS HIGHEST STAGE IN YEARS. BRIDGES WERE OUT AND ROADS WERE BLOCKED.

    THERE WAS WIDESPREAD FLOODING IN OTHER AREAS OF MONTANA, TOO, WITH OVERFLOWS REPORTED 150 MILES SOUTH OF GREAT FALLS ON THE THREE RIVERS THAT FORM THE MIGHTY MISSOURI--THE GALLATIN, JEFFERSON AND MADISON.

    HARDEST HIT COMMUNITIES ON THE MISSOURI RIVER SIDE OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS WERE CHOTEAU, A TOWN OF 2,000, AND VALIER, A TOWN OF 750. THEY ARE NORTHWEST OF GREAT FALLS. VALIER'S POPULATION WAS SWELLED BY AT LEAST 200 REFUGEES WHO WERE GIVEN SHELTER IN A SCHOOL.

    WHILE MUCH DESTRUCTION WAS EVIDENT AROUND CHOTEAU AND VALIER, MOST OF THE BODIES HAVE BEEN RECOVERED IN GLACIER COUNTRY ON THE BLACKFEET INDIAN RESERVATION.

    MANY OF THE DEAD WERE BELIEVED TO BE VICTIMS OF FLASH FLOODS INCLUDING A SURGE OF WATER THAT SWEPT DOWN TWO MEDICINE CREEK AFTER DAM BROKE.

    NEAR VALIER, SEARCHERS WERE LOOKING FOR MORE THAN 50 PERSONS WHOSE WHEREABOUTS WAS UNKNOWN.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA910G7QBS6Y5FTG0EWAPFE9GOC
    Media URN:
    VLVA910G7QBS6Y5FTG0EWAPFE9GOC
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    09/06/1964
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:29:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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