Shepherd closure

Melting snow floods low lying areas near Shepherd on Sunday.

People and businesses in Yellowstone County that suffered flood-related damage when ice jams plugged the Yellowstone River now have an easy way to file a claim. 

Any flood event that's happened since March 6 is eligible. 

The Yellowstone County Disaster and Emergency Services division has created an online form for residents and business owners to fill out if they have suffered damage.

This information will be forwarded to the State Disaster and Emergency Services Department in Helena, said Duane Winslow, DES coordinator in Yellowstone County. 

While still early in the information collection process, Winslow emphasized that private insurance is primary for all claims.

If a person has $10,000 in damage and insurance covers $9,000, his or her claim to the state should be $1,000, he said. 

Residents and businesses can also take precautions before potential flooding occurs as snow from the mountains begins to melt, Winslow said. 

"They should get their sandbags now, before water starts coming in the window," he said.

And, if sandbags are already put up from the last round, "They might want to leave them up for a couple of months," he said.

The snowpack in the Yellowstone River Basin is 141 percent of normal, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s water supply outlook report.

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Chris Cioffi covers city news for The Billings Gazette in Montana.