Even though the National Weather Service is not predicting a repeat of last spring’s devastating flooding of the Clark Fork River, Chief Hydrologist Ray Nickless is still concerned about localized flooding in certain areas.

“Nothing like the magnitude we had last year,” said Nickless. “We had so much snowpack last year, especially in the Blackfoot and Clark Fork River Basins. It was up near the maximums on record. However, we are concerned with the Clark Fork here in Missoula down in the Orchard Homes Area.”

Nickless is concerned with what he termed ‘channel migration’.

“Most of the Clark Fork River has levees on it coming through the entire town of Missoula, except when you get down to where the water starts to braid out and there are no more levees. The water in the channel will move to the lowest elevation in the river channel and the rocks and sediment are deposited throughout the river channel. Look at a Google image and you’ll see all the different braids of channels.”

Nickless said residents in those low lying areas should seriously consider purchasing flood insurance.

“Down in that Kehrwald and Tower Street area is where the water seems to be moving towards,” he said. “There’s a 30 day waiting period before flood insurance takes effect, so they might want to be prepared for that.”

Nickless said the National Weather Service is expecting slightly above normal temperatures in the period from April through June.

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