Montana Public Radio

National Weather Service

A road closed sign in a flooded Missoula neighborhood, May 12, 2018.
Inciweb

Flooding continues to be a concern on rivers and streams across western and central Montana. In Missoula, evacuation orders are still in place for 65 homes, with warnings posted for an additional 2,200 more. But there’s at least a glimmer of good news for the Clark Fork River above Missoula.

The flooded Clark Fork River in the Schmidt Road area of Missoula, May 15, 2018.
Missoula County

When the weather gets dramatic, the big-picture descriptions come out: a 50-year storm, a hundred-year flood, a thousand-year floodplain. But it can get confusing when the numbers don't really mean what they sound like to the non-statisticians among us who hear them.

For example: a hundred-year flood doesn't mean that it's breaking a 100-year-old record.

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

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.

Clark Fork River in Missoula, May 9, 2018.
Josh Burnham

Update: 9:25 p.m. 

New evacuations due to flooding have been ordered near Missoula tonight. According to a post from the Missoula County Sheriffs Office, "three homes on Harper’s Bridge Road are now under an evacuation order, while 10 additional homes on Harper’s Bridge Road have been put in evacuation warning. A road block has been established on Harper’s Bridge Road and Lavoie."

Students fill sandbags in Missoula's flooded Orchard Homes area, Monday, May 7, 2018.
Josh Burnham

Cooler, wet weather is expected to start moving into Montana. MTPR's Edward O’Brien has more on how this could factor into the state’s unfolding flood crisis.

Flooding in Missoula along the north end of Tower Street, May 7, 2018.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

This post will be updated throughout the day as new information becomes available. 

Update: 4:47 p.m.

Rivers and streams across western and parts of central Montana are steadily rising as record mountain snowpack continues to melt.

It seems the passage of Montana’s seasons isn't marked so much anymore by gradually changing weather as it is natural disasters.

Flood outlook for the Clark For River near Missoula.
National Weather Service

Western Montana’s flood waters receded a little bit Thursday, but it’s only a temporary reprieve. Warmer temperatures are on the horizon, and there’s more snowpack left in the mountains. Lots more.

The Clark Fork River near the University of Montana Campus, April 30, 2018.
Josh Burnham / MTPR

The weekend’s cold front dropped a lot of rain over western Montana and sent the Clark Fork into a minor flood stage by mid-morning Sunday.

According to Missoula National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Nester says the river was expected to reach moderate flood stage by Tuesday evening.

Warm temperatures will bring increased snowmelt through the weekend. This, coupled with the widespread rainfall forecast across the Northern Rockies late Saturday through Monday, will bring rapid rises in water levels into early next week.
National Weather Service Missoula

The National Weather Service predicts western Montana is going to have a long and active flood season this year, and flood season could soon get off to a not-so-slow build.

National Weather Service Hydrologist Ray Nickless says Friday is expected to bring some of the warmest temperatures of the year to western Montana, with highs pushing 80 degrees.

Both valleys and mountains will be impacted for locations across northwest Montana and along the Continental Divide. If the arctic front makes it further into western Montana, west-central and southwest Montana will also see snow and gusty winds.
National Weather Service, Missoula, MT.

Another blast of wintery weather is forecast for parts of western Montana later this week. It could bring heavy snow, strong winds and some dangerously icy conditions with it, said National Weather Service Meteorologist LeeAnn Allegretto.

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