While water levels in western Montana are already high, they will continue to climb through next week, flooding more and more areas. National Weather Service Meteorologist Alex Lukinbeal says the Bitterroot River will move into minor flood stage by midweek.

“The Bitterroot River near Missoula is forecast to get to minor flood stage just over 11 and a half feet,” Lukinbeal said. “The historical average river level for the Bitterroot is just under seven feet for this time of year. The river is forecast to be at least four feet above the average sometime between Wednesday and Thursday.”

Meanwhile, the forecast is even worse along the Clark Fork River.

“The Clark Fork is forecast to get above moderate flood stage crossing just over that 12 foot mark,” Lukinbeal said. “When you look at the climate water levels for the Clark Fork, you are looking at a value of about five and a half feet. It is over double what the average river level will be.”

Lukinbeal says the worst may be yet to come, especially if Western Montana sees a wide spread weather system with lots of precipitation. He says the flooding conditions may continue for more than a month driven by a much deeper than normal snow pack.

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