This photo was taken about 1:30pm Wednesday April 25 looking south from the bridge over the Bitterroot River at Bell Crossing.

The river level at Bell Crossing at that time was 10.22 feet. Flood stage is 11 feet.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for all along the Bitterroot River until Noon Saturday.

That includes the possibility of flooding on small streams and creeks along the river, too.

The Weather Service said that the recent heat has increased the snowmelt in Bitterroot Mountains and a moisture-laden weather system is headed toward Western Montana by Friday. Up to an inch of rain (possibly mixed with snow) is possible.

You can't help but notice the water's rise and the increased speed of the river, even though we're still in April. Be careful out there, and it's not too early to make other plans rather than floating on the Bitterroot.