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Montana Flood News Roundup For May 14, 2018

A sign at the flood information trailer in Missoula, MT, May 11, 2018.
Josh Burnham
A sign at the flood information trailer in Missoula, MT, May 11, 2018.

The Clark Fork River above Missoula today receded by over two feet from Friday night’s high of 13.82 feet; its highest crest since 1908. But that doesn't mean the worst of the flooding is behind us.

"Even though the rivers have gone down now, lets not be complacent cause they’re going to be headed right back up Thursday through Saturday,” says National Weather Service Meteorologist Bob Nester.

The weekend’s generally cool weather will be replaced with highs Tuesday that will approach 80 degrees. According to Nester, the real problem this week will be overnight lows forecast to remain well above freezing, which will continue to melt that record mountain snowpack.

“So as a result, the Clark Fork River is expected to go back up to major flood stage, which is at 13-feet , sometime Thursday afternoon, and is expected to crest at 13.98 feet sometime Friday night or Saturday morning," Nester says.

Wednesday is expected to usher in another round of slow-moving rain showers followed by cooler weather on Thursday.

Floodwaters knocked down power lines near Missoula over the weekend. NorthWestern Energy shut off power to the lines, but they remain a danger to anyone using the river.

As a result of the downed power lines and hazardous debris in the river, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks closed the Clark Fork River to all recreation today, from the Reserve Street Bridge in Missoula to Kona Bridge.

The closure applies to all water-based recreation, including wading, swimming, fishing, floating, boating.

FWP says the closure will remain while power lines and other river debris are creating unsafe conditions.

There's a public meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday night at Hawthorne School, 2835 S. 3rd St. W in Missoula, for those who have been, or may be impacted by the floods.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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