It’s getting hot and sunny in western Montana and one surefire way to cool off is to jump in the river. The problem is that high stream flows and flooding, the rivers have been murky and hazardous up till recently. National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Lukinbeal explains what the river is like now.

“Starting off at the Clark Fork River above Missoula, right now the river is currently flowing a little bit higher than what we would normally expect to see,” Lukinbeal said. “The stage height is 4 and a half feet. On an average year we typically see the river flow about 3.8 feet. It is running close to about a foot above average.”

Recent flooding also adds to the difficulties for floaters.

“The rivers are higher than normal for this time of year, but there is also quite a bit of debris that is left over from this flood season that we had for about a month and a half back in May and June,” Lukinbeal said. “That is something to also consider.”

Missoula’s major rivers also offer similar temperatures.

“Right now the Blackfoot River near Bonner is actually running about 6 feet at 66 degrees depending on the time of the day,” Lukinbeal said. “The average for this time of the year is 64 degrees. They are saying the Bitterroot River temperatures are pretty normal for this time of year, anywhere from low 60s during the morning to mid 60s in the afternoon.”

Interestingly, Lukinbeal says the Bitterroot River isn’t running higher than normal near Missoula… it’s actually running below normal.