MISSOULA – Lolo residents living near the Bitterroot River are being told to stay alert for rising waters over the Memorial Day weekend.
Current forecasts are predicting that the Bitterroot River will reach moderate flood stage on Sunday evening and folks are encouraged to take extra precautions through the weekend and stay alert and informed.
The river is currently expected to reach levels not seen since 1997 and current forecasts predict it to crest at 13.06 feet early Monday morning.
Authorities say that residents should sign up for emergency alerts from the Missoula County Office of Emergency Management as that is the only way to receive alerts on mobile devices.
Residents also should watch for groundwater infiltrating low points in their homes, including basements, crawl spaces, wells and septic systems.
The National Weather Service is forecasting strong to severe thunderstorms with the potential for heavy rainfall, strong winds and small hail to occur around 6 p.m. on Friday, increasing the potential for flash flooding, particularly over the Lolo Peak burn scar.
Potentially affected homeowners in the area have been notified, and individuals recreating in the area should stay alert to changing conditions.
The water level on the Clark Fork River above Missoula rose to 11.18 feet Friday morning and remains in moderate flood stage. Current forecasts predict it will continue to rise, remaining in moderate flood stage through next week. The river is expected to crest at 11.47 feet on Monday evening.
Although the Clark Fork River is not currently predicted to reach major flood stage, conditions can change quickly, and snowpack levels remain high. Residents in flood-prone areas should remain alert to changes in conditions.
The most up-to-date river forecasts are available here.
A flood information line at (406) 258-INFO is being staffed from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily. Callers will hear an updated recording after hours.