As Independence Day approaches, many in western Montana are planning float trips over the holiday weekend and there's some good news. According to National Weather Service meteorologist Lance Vandenboogart, the high stream flows and brown water from a few weeks ago is mostly gone.

"It looks like rivers are running near normal right now for the Bitterroot and the Clark Fork and even the Blackfoot river above Bonner," Vandenboogart said. "Those areas are actually below average flows right now, but you'll still want to take safety precautions any time you're out on the water."

One of the most important precautions is to stay warm, because Montana rivers can be chilly, even when it’s 90 degrees outside.

"What we warn people about is hypothermia, believe it or not, even when we have these hot temperatures because we have so many people jumping into very cold water," Vandenboogart said. "There's only a couple gauges that actually measure temperature, but like the Blackfoot River above Bonner is measuring at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit for the water, not terribly chilly, but still will feel cold on a hot day, others are measuring around 55 degrees."

There is still a chance that local thunderstorms and rain change river conditions significantly before the 4th of July weekend, but it’s unlikely.

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