How our early May warm-up could lead to flooding - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

How our early May warm-up could lead to flooding

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Heavy rain produced by thunderstorms could lead to rapid snowmelt Heavy rain produced by thunderstorms could lead to rapid snowmelt

While some are thrilled about reaching 80° later this week, getting so warm so early in the season isn't necessarily a good thing.

Right now, Montana's mountains are loaded with snow. The latest numbers from remote SNOTEL sites located up high in Montana's mountains show an abundant snowpack.

As of Wednesday, the snow water equivalent percent of normal numbers range from 100-140% in most river basins. 

Climate records show Montana's snowpack typically peaks around mid-April, but that hasn't been the case this season.

Recent storms have added more snow to the higher terrain, something that can be troublesome come late spring.

With surface temperatures suddenly jumping into the 80s later this week, the snow sitting on the mountain peaks will most certainly begin to melt.

This sudden temperature jump will result in rapid snowmelt, and all that water will begin running off into area creeks, streams, and rivers.

Anyone living or working along Montana's waterways should watch for rising water levels over the upcoming weekend and into next week.

Fast-flowing water could catch some off guard, so everyone is urged to use caution if recreating near waterways.

To make matters worse, thunderstorms are expected to develop over the mountains on Friday evening, Saturday afternoon, and again on Sunday.

Heavy rain produced by the storms could lead to rapid runoff and flooding in some areas.

Particular attention will be paid to storms that pop over Montana's mountains, because that could increase the potential for flooding downstream.

As of now, widespread flooding is unlikely, but the combination of very warm temperatures and heavy rain could change things very quickly.

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