River Reaches Flood Stage
The Bitterroot River has been edging toward Flood Stage for the past couple of weeks, and at Bell Crossing near Victor, it reached the 11-foot Flood Stage mark Wednesday, with the peak expected to be about a half-foot higher.
Meanwhile, The Darby gauge is just below the 7.5 foot Flood Stage at 7.46 feet on Wednesday morning. The forecasters think the river could crest about a half foot above that.
Of course, the forecasts are dependent on weather conditions.
The creeks and streams feeding the Bitterroot River are also running bankful…and there’s still plenty of snow in the mountains.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service reports the snowmelt has barely begun. With the Bitterroot drainage at 200% of average snowpack a week ago, the water could be running unusually high for quite a while.
Brian Domonkos of the NRCS said that in typical years, about 50 percent of the automated SNOTEL sites have no snow in June. However, this year almost three-fourths of the sites have lots of snow. The sites in the Bitteroot range from 168 of average at Daly Creek to 219 percent at Saddle Mountain SNOTEL.