Western Montana Prepares for Wet Weekend

Heavy rain could result in rising streams and landslides

By Justin Franz

The sunny skies that have dominated Western Montana this week will abruptly come to an end this weekend, the National Weather Service reports.

A weather system from the west will bring heavy rain starting Saturday and NWS Missoula warns that area streams could rapidly rise before Monday. Meteorologists are also saying that rock slides and debris flows are possible due to the unseasonably warm weather that has dried the topsoil in recent weeks.

Northwest Montana will likely get the most precipitation from this storm with up to 3 inches of rain possible in the Cabinet Mountains. The valleys of central Idaho and Northwest Montana will see a little less rain and NWS has called for 1 to 1.5 inches of rain between Saturday and Monday in those areas.

Although the weather service says it is unlikely the region will see flooding from this rain event, standing water on roadways could result in hydroplaning.

The one good thing that could emerge from the storm, at least for snow-starved skiers and riders, is the possibility of snow in the higher elevations on Sunday night. The weather service predicts 2 to 5 inches of snow at elevations higher than 4,000 feet.

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