Friday, June 25, 2021
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Storm brings badly needed rains to region

by MATT BALDWIN
Daily Inter Lake | May 26, 2021 7:20 AM

Sunday and Monday’s soggy weather in the Flathead Valley couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for a region facing dismally dry conditions for much of the spring. A weather station at Glacier Park International Airport recorded 1.48 inches of rain as of Tuesday morning and it was still raining.

More wet weather is on the way. The National Weather Service in Missoula predicts the region will see another half-inch to an inch of rain into Wednesday as the next low pressure system invades the area. That could boost the area back to near average precipitation for the month.

Even with the good dose of rain, cool mountain temperatures have helped keep river levels out of flood range.

“Much of the recent precipitation has fallen as snow in the mountains, which is good because it will take time for the snow to melt and run off,” the National Weather Service noted in its Monday forecast. “This spreads out the runoff over a longer time, and makes it less likely to flood.”

Mountain snowpack rebounded nicely with the latest storm. Noisy Basin in the Swan Mountains shows the mountaintop location receiving 9 inches of new snow depth over the last five days for a total snowpack of 94 inches.

A weather station on Flattop Mountain in Glacier National Park shows 74 inches of settled snow holding 37.1 inches of snow water equivalent.

All totaled, the Flathead River Basin’s snowpack is at 99% of normal for this time of year.

Elsewhere, the Upper Clark Fork basin’s snowpack is at 106%, while the Sun, Teton and Marias basins are at 132% of average, the highest in the state. Meanwhile, the Kootenai River region in far Northwest Montana is still lagging at 60% of average.