Rockslides will likely be common this springNews Type: State Source: NBC Montana
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MISSOULA, Mont. —
Snowpack levels are more than 40 percent above normal for many locations in western Montana.
As snow melts this spring and summer, it will cause a mess in terms of rockslides and flooding. Ray Nickless, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service, explained why.
“Above-normal moisture, especially when you got a good snowpack and continue to get rain, that does saturate soils, especially in the steeper terrain, so you can always see an increase in landslides,” said Nickless.
Nickless says areas more prone to rockslides include the Libby area in far northwest Montana and the I-90 corridor, from St Regis to Lookout Pass.
Another hazard expected because of the increased moisture is flooding. Nickless said one of the biggest areas of concern is along the Clark Fork River, among many others.
“Here in western Montana, up in the Flathead, the Flathead River, the Bitterroot River, they’re all going to be hitting the flood stages as we go in this May and June timeframe,” said Nickless.
The Blackfoot area and Gallatin Gateway are also prone to flooding.
Nickless said to be aware of potential issues and be sure to watch for rockslides when driving.