MTPR

National Weather Service

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.

Missoula County fire officials announced Monday they will move fire danger signs to "High" effective immediately.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

National Weather Service projections show a hot, dry summer for Montana this year.

Megan Syner, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service says through this spring Montana will continue to see below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation. But that could change mid-summer.

Flooding along Rock Creek, a tributary of the Clark Fork River, near Clinton, MT, June 4, 2017.
Josh Burnham

An advisory council to the governor is considering a change to Montana's law on predicting drought conditions, following the historic 2017 fire season that caught state officials by surprise.

This time last year, Governor Steve Bullock’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee did not expect drought to be an issue for Montana in the warmer months of 2017. The committee sent their annual report to the governor last April when streamflows were high and spring rain was falling.

Snow water equivalent, basin percentage of normal, Feb. 1, 2018.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

The National Weather Service says there's a 70 percent chance of flooding in the Clark Fork and Flathead River valleys this spring.

"Probably not a bad idea to start thinking about sandbags," National Weather Service hydrologist Ray Nickless says in a youtube video posted today.

Montana Department of Transportation crews clear roads north of Browning, MT on S-464, February 26, 2018.
Montana Department of Transportation

Schools and government offices on the Blackfeet Reservation were closed again Tuesday after another bout of winds buffeted the reservation, leaving roadways impassable, buried under snow drifts.

The reservation remains under a state of emergency and an Incident Command team is coordinating with the State of Montana, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other state, tribal and non-government groups.

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