On Thursday, February 13, water from melting snow was rolling down the East-West streets of Victor, in some cases above foundations and basement windows.

Ravalli County Office of Emergency Management Director Ron Nicholas said on Friday, that temperatures have cooled somewhat, although there is still a great deal of snow ready to melt in low-lying areas around the county.

"The National Weather Service is telling us that we have 116 percent of snowpack, which is the highest in western Montana," Nicholas said.

With that in mind, Nicholas said the warm temperatures and the rain did cause some high water conditions for residences and even one fire department in the Bitterroot Valley.

"I think it was the combination of rain throughout the valley and the temperatures being warm enough to start melting the snow, which filled some the the fields located west of Victor," Nicholas said. "Of course, water runs downhill, and that's what it did. The water ran down 5th Street and created some problems for lots of folks. I saw water up around the foundations of several homes. There was even some water in one of the bays and a couple of inches in the meeting room of the Victor Fire Department."

Nicholas said the snowmelt was not an unexpected event.

"With all this snow, the melting was not unexpected, but it came a lot earlier than normal," Nicholas said. "We've had calls from several folks spread throughout the valley looking for help with sandbags and sand. They had similar problems, but they were isolated. We're talking about water in the basement, and water going down the road. We've had a lot of calls to the county road department about low spots in the road where water has washed over, and eaten away at the road banks. That's not unusual for them, but it is a bit early in the year for that kind of activity, I think."

Again, Nicholas said the good news is that Ravalli County has 116 percent of snowpack, so the coming summer may not be so dry.

Ravalli County Office of Emergency Management Director Ron Nicholas


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