Slower snow melt brings some relief to the Clark Fork River

Posted at 9:47 AM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 11:47:55-04

MISSOULA – There’s finally some good news for Missoula area flood victims.

New weather predictions show that the Clark Fork River will crest at a lower level than previously predicted. The National Weather Service believes that lower conditions are expected because of less mountain pack snowmelt.

Snow from the mountains has melted at a slower pace than previously expected which should help flood levels in the area but those levels are still expected to hit major flood stage.

Debris recovery efforts along Schmidt Lane on Tuesday produced three vehicles, a boat, a trailer and a large propane tank that had gone into the river.

With all the good news surrounding the flood, some residents have begun to talk about recovery efforts but officials ask everyone remain focused on the pending rise in water.

"We know that people are talking about recovery efforts we are still in this phase of response. We still need people to be prepared the river levels are going to start coming up starting today and into the weekend," Incident Management Team spokesman Mel Holtz said.

"So we have a team working on some of that recovery steps and process now but we are really focusing on people being prepared for this next rise in the river that’s starting today and through the weekend," Holtz added.

National Weather Service hydrologist Ray Nickless says that rainstorms that are in the forecast until Friday should not have a large impact on flood level predictions, but added that there is still a lot of snow on mountains to be melted off.