The National Weather Service has been keeping a close eye on the Clark Fork River as the weather has been warming, and they are now predicting that the Clark Fork River will exceed the 7.5 foot flood stage this week, according to meteorologist Jennifer Kitzmiller.

“We are experiencing well-above temperatures for this time of year, and so as this warmth kicks in we’re expecting snowmelt to really kick in as well,” said Kitzmiller. “We’re going to be seeing steady rises on the Clark Fork River above Missoula starting today, and we’re looking at the river reaching flood stage by sometime probably Tuesday.”

Kitzmiller said the Clark Fork will continue its steady rise throughout the week to come and should exceed the flood stage all week until the weekend, however, other rivers in the area are not expected to flood in the Missoula area.

“The Bitterroot River is also seeing some increases, but at this point we’re not expecting it to reach flood stage,” she said. “However, it is going to hover just below flood stage until the next weekend. All area rivers will be experiencing those slow, steady rises as we move forward, but at this point it’s just the Clark Fork that’s going to exceed the flood stage.”

Kitzmiller said there are factors that bode well for western Montana.

“We still have a fair amount of moisture up there (in the mountains) and it’s actually running at about typical levels for this time of year,” she said. “It actually looks like we are going to be cooling down as we head into next weekend, but with that it’s going to bring chances of rain, so the cool down will slow the melt but then any chances of rain will add even more moisture to the system.”

Kitzmiller said the Clark Fork flooding will affect the areas that have already seen high water this spring, including Kehrwald Drive and Tower Street.


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