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Cooler weather helping with rise in Western Montana rivers

Posted at 2:21 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 10:28:53-04

MISSOULA - Western Montana rivers are continuing to run high after a combination of warmer temperatures and rains last week but forecasters say levels are easing off with the return of cooler weather.

Larger rivers like the Clark Fork — as well as smaller rivers and streams — started seeing more runoff the middle of last week, as temperatures began to push back into the 70s, kicking off more melting of the recent snows.

By Saturday, you could really see the difference, such as at Kona Bridge, where the river had risen steadily up the bridge piers.

National Weather Service Hydrologist Ray Nickless says the runoff was further fueled by the rains at the end of the week. Even though some of the rivers were running "bank full", most were still 2-to-5 feet below flood stage.

Nickless says the cooler weather is helping the rivers to recede as we start this week. And he adds that the fluctuating temperatures, and occasional storms, are creating the "perfect melt" of the snowpack so far this spring.