If you turned on your TV, or read a newspaper in the last couple weeks, you most likely heard about the flooding that's been happening in California. Oroville Dam, which is the tallest in America, suffered damage to the spillway which resulted in the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people.

Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives

I recently learned that Montana has its own history regarding dam failures and flooding. According to the National Weather Service, in June of 1964, the worst natural disaster in the history of Montana occurred. Heavy rains led to flooding which ruptured dams, and washed out roads and railways. Most of the flooding occurred on Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The flooding affected nearly 20% of the state. Ranches and homes were swept away completely, and 30 people died due to the flooding.

When the flood happened in 1964, Montana was experiencing a weather pattern very similar to what we've experienced this winter. Many areas in Montana have not seen the snow levels that they usually do. If a lot of moisture comes late, like it did back in 1964, we could see very similar conditions in Montana.

The last major flooding in Montana happened in 2011, and affected the Missouri and Yellowstone River. With the amount of moisture hitting Northern parts of the state, the likelihood of flooding this year is pretty great. To learn more about the history of flooding in Montana, click here.


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