How High’s The Water, Mama?
The rivers and streams in the Bitterroot Valley continue to run bankfull or a little over their banks in places. And the water is full of debris and dirt from the spring runoff.
The Weather Service has the Bitterroot under a "Flood Watch" and the levels as of Wednesday, May 25, at 11am are: Darby - 6.5 feet, a foot under the flood level of 7.5 and Bell Crossing near Victor at 10.24 feet with the flood level there at 11 feet.
The Northern Region of the Forest Service (which includes the Bitterroot National Forest) is advising people to use caution in the woods this Memorial Day weekend. There are areas that are prone to flooding, and there are even more dangerous areas that could be subject to flash floods, where there is little warning for a wall of water coming down the streambed.
A few tips from the Forest Service: have an evacuation route and alternative routes out of an area before you start camping, be careful in crossing streams in a vehicle, horseback or by foot. (Only 2 feet of water can move a vehicle!) Roads and bridges open to public travel can be undercut by water and become unstable or impassable during high water season.
On another note, US Senator Jon Tester is having a "staff outreach" meeting in Hamilton Thursday from 9 to 11am at the Ravalli County Commissioners meeting room, 215 South 4th in Hamilton. The meeting for for anyone who has specific needs or possible assistance.
The Senator's toll-free number is 1-866-554-4403.