Forecasts Indicate That The Worst of Missoula’s Flooding is Over
All of Western Montana is flush with deeper than normal snowpack, but National Weather Service Hydrologist Ray Nickless says the issue of flooding is most pronounced in one region.
"We look at all of Western Montana, the Flathead, the Clark Fork, the Blackfoot, there are probably 20 to 25 rivers in western Montana that we make forecasts for and keep a close eye on, we also look at parts of Idaho, but the impact here in Western Montana, specifically in Missoula has to be the biggest I've heard of," Nickless said.
The bad news is that the rivers could stay in the minor to moderate flood stage for weeks, the good news is that the Clark Fork River has likely already hit its highest point this year.
"Here in Missoula, as far as snow melt is concerned, we've run some contingency forecasts and we believe that there's not enough snow to come off that quick again as what happened here a few weeks ago. We are still expecting it to get above the flood level, but not to the point it was when it crested here a few weeks ago."
Widespread, intense precipitation could change that forecast, but there is no indication that it will. Nickless says right now, he’s worried about the Bitterroot river and flooding impacts near Lolo as well as the possible flooding impacts down near Plains.