Potential Flood Concerns: High Mountain Snows this Year
We have had a lot of snow this year so the question on everyone’s mind is: Will we flood this year on the Musselshell? Our river has three mountain sources of run off as well as the low land snow. In 2011 on February 5th, our big flood year, the Snotel site on the north end of the Crazies read 5.5 inches of water. This year’s February total so far is at 7.9, which is ahead of the 2011 water total. The Snotel site in the Castles this year on February 5th is 21.3 Inches. For 2011 it was 19.1 inches which is also lower than today’s total. The last Snotel site is on the south end of the Little Belt Mountains. Today it reads 9.6 inches of water. In 2011 on the same day we had 7.3 inches of water, so today’s February total is also higher. Typically March is our big snow month and the highest total in March of 2011 in the Crazies was 10.8 inches of water or an additional 5.3 inches more needed in March of this year. To reach 2011’s total we need in the Castles a March total of 37.5 inches. That would be 16.2 inches more needed in March. In the Little Belts the flood year of 2011 had a March total of 18.9 inches needing 9.3 inches this year to match 2011.
We are on track for a possible 2018 flood however we will have to watch what happens in March. Even if we match or exceed 2011 mountain water levels we would still have to have a sudden warm up or mountain rains to bring the water down quickly to cause a flood. A slow warm up and a slow run off would produce safe river levels. It is the same thing with the ice break up. If you are in the flood zone, have a plan and watch the spring weather and listen to our DES. We will keep you informed.
Last modified: February 14, 2018