Weather Service Says Flood Threat Diminished

By Beacon Staff

With cooler than expected weekend temperatures, the National Weather Service revised earlier flooding predictions downward Saturday, though several rivers are still expected to near or reach flood stage.

The crest of the Fisher River near Libby was revised slightly downward, but the river was still expected to exceed its 7.5-foot flood stage Sunday and continue on to crest around 8.29 feet. Flood projections actually increased for the Yaak River near Troy, where the river was expected to hit its flood stage at 8 feet Sunday and crest later in the week at just over 9 feet. Waters there are expected to remain high through Thursday.

The Middle Fork of the Flathead River near West Glacier was also expected to rise to its flood stage Sunday, cresting at 10.94 feet around noon on Monday.

On Thursday, National Weather Service officials predicted record-high weekend temperatures would cause rapid melting in what has been a persistent winter snowpack. Eight northwestern Montana rivers were predicted then to approach or exceed flood stage this weekend; that number was cut in half by Sunday’s forecast.

According to Sunday’s projection, the main stem of the Flathead River near Columbia Falls will now fall just short of its 14-foot flood stage; the river – originally projected to crest at 15.8 feet – is expected to reach 13.57 feet on Monday before receding. The North Fork of the Flathead at Polebridge will crest at 11.58 feet, just short of its flood stage of 12 feet, at about noon Monday, and the Stillwater River near Lawrence Park is now expected to fall well short of its 7.5-foot flood stage.

Other exact predictions are available at the National Weather Service Web site.

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