Tag Archives: river levels

Flood watch in effect through Thursday


All this rain has caused the National Weather Service to post a flood watch through Thursday. They are looking for sharp rises in river levels, specifically for the North Fork and Middle Fork. At this point, the river level forecast data for Flathead County shows expected heights around flood level for the North Fork at the Canadian border during Wednesday-Thursday. (However, the actual river level readings are running well below the forecast.)

Here’s the official flood watch language:

Statement as of 9:45 AM MDT on June 06, 2012

… Flood Watch remains in effect through Thursday morning…

The Flood Watch continues for

* a portion of northwest Montana… including the following counties… Flathead and lake.

* Through Thursday morning

* excessive rainfall resulting from a strong storm system will impact northwest Montana… creating the potential for flooding.

* The Flathead river… including the North Fork and Middle Fork branches… could see dramatic rises in water levels that could cause them to reach flood stage in the next several days. Smaller streams are also at risk for higher flows.

Warm days; rising waters

The warm weather triggered a rise in river levels. It doesn’t look like much excitement in the Flathead Valley, though . . .

The National Weather Service is projecting Northwest Montana rivers and streams to rise over the next few days with some expected to approach or exceed flood stage.

The rising waters are due to recent warm weather and rain that is expected Wednesday night, continuing through Thursday. Along the Montana-Idaho border, as much as an inch is expected. About a half inch is expected in areas farther east.

Continue reading . . .

Warming trend will cause Flathead River rise

The spate of warmer weather is expected to increase water flow in the Flathead River. The current forecast for the North Fork shows it exceeding flood level briefly at the Canadian border late Thursday/early Friday.

The Daily Inter Lake has a write-up . . .

With a significant warming trend expected this week, the National Weather Service is forecasting increased flooding potential for some Western Montana rivers, including the Flathead River.

The Flathead River at Columbia Falls could reach or exceed flood stage by Thursday or Friday, but other rivers such as the Whitefish and Stillwater Rivers are no longer expected to exceed flood stage without a major rain event, meteorologist Bruce Bauck said during a conference call on Monday.

Continue reading . . .

Western Montana rivers to stay within inches of flood stage

Looks like area rivers will run full but more-or-less within their banks for the next few days.

Here’s an overview of the situation from the Missoulian . . .

The 2011 flood season will go on hold for a few days while Mother Nature decides what to do next.

Most western Montana rivers passed their peak rise on Friday and were forecast to hold steady within a few inches of their initial flood stage, National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Bauck said.

Those hydrographs should stay flat through the middle of next week as a cool, wet weather system moves across the state.

Unfortunately, that means the remaining mountain snowpack will remain a while longer, leaving the potential for future runoff surges…

Continue reading . . .

Area river levels drop but peak flows ahead

By and large, local rivers crested just below flood stage after the last bout of wet weather. However, higher flows and river levels are likely as the weather continues to warm.

Today’s Daily Inter Lake has a write-up . . .

Although most area river levels have dropped, the National Weather Service is maintaining a flood warning for the Whitefish and Stillwater rivers into Saturday and a meteorologist warns that there are more peak flows to come on Northwest Montana waterways…

Most Northwest Montana rivers, including the North Fork, Middle Fork and main stem Flathead rivers, rose close to flood stage on Wednesday but flows have declined since then. …these are not peak flows for the spring runoff. Because of the persistent water-loaded snowpack, there can be more and higher peak flows in the weeks to come.

Continue reading . . .

North Fork should crest just below flood stage

This morning’s river level readings and forecast show the North Fork cresting a little below flood stage today both at the Canadian border and at Polebridge. Elsewhere in the area, minor flooding is expected for the Middle Fork at West Glacier and the main stem of the Flathead River near Columbia Falls.

Check out the links on the “Flood Information” page for more information.

North Fork forecast at flood stage by mid-week at Canadian border

The National Weather Service tweaked their forecast river levels for the North Fork Flathead River. They now show it cresting just above flood stage for about a day at the Canadian border in the Tuesday-Wednesday time-frame. It’s hard to know what will happen at Polebridge — the gauge seems to be broken again — but the river should at least be pretty close to bank-full by mid-week.

Use the links on the “Flood Information” page to monitor the situation.

Cold weather expected, river levels to drop temporarily

Well, cripes, now the Weather Service is saying that the weather system moving in is cold enough that river levels may actually drop a little for the next few days, even though we’ll be seeing some rain initially. The Flathead Beacon has the story . . .

Cold weather and rain hitting the Flathead in the next 24 hours and running through the weekend should slow down snowmelt in the mountains, leading to temporarily decreased river flows in the valley.

According to Chris Gibson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Missoula, the Flathead can expect some “big changes” coming in the weather, including winter weather advisories for parts of the state.

Continue reading . . .

Spring flooding expected with record snowpack; could see historic flood levels

The Flathead Beacon posted a good article today on the flood potential in the Flathead River Basin, including the latest forecast estimates. This one is recommended reading . . .

The National Weather Service reported last week that the snowpack in certain areas of the Flathead River Basin have reached historic levels, likely leading to flood or near-flood levels on the basin’s major rivers in May and June.

Ray Nickless, a hydrologist for NWS, said in a spring flooding report that some rivers, such as the Swan and the North Fork of the Flathead, are forecast to reach flood levels that could place them in the top five highest flood levels on record.

In the past three weeks, the Flathead has seen a significant increase in snowpack levels. The levels were at 141 percent of average on April 15, and recent data shows the Flathead now at 183 percent of average.

Continue reading . . .

“Flood Information” page updated with North Fork-specific information

We did a little shuck and jive at the National Weather Service site and put together a custom, North Fork-specific page displaying current and forecast river gauge data, as well as weekly forecast flood probabilities for the North Fork of the Flathead River. It is now the first link you encounter on the Flood Information page.

If you want to save a click, here is the direct link: Current and forecast river levels, North Fork Flathead River