MISSOULA, Mont. -

The Montana Department of Emergency Services issued a press release Saturday reminding Montanans that the state is experiencing changing spring weather conditions that may cause rivers, creeks and streams to rise rapidly. The Great Falls-based National Weather Service branch is predicting a warming trend to occur during the next several days, and continuing into next week. Above-average snowpack conditions may boost the likelihood of flooding.


Missoula County Sheriff’s Officer Paige Pavalone says as long as the weather stays consistent as it has, there is the potential for flooding in the first week of May, though warmer weather could bring about flooding earlier. Pavalone says emergency officials will be consulting with residents along Highway 12 in the Lolo area over the next week about flooding dangers.


“We’ve had a huge amount of snow this year. The snowpack [along with] the Lolo Complex Fire definitely caused some issues that are going to compound the flooding issue so we’re going to do what we can to let them know how to protect themselves in the event that there is a flooding situation," said Pavalone.

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The following is a press release from the Montana Department of Emergency Services issued through the Montana Joint Force Headquarters:
April 5, 2014
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
The Montana Department of Emergency Services Alerts Montanan's of Potential Flooding Conditions Across the State
 
Helena, Mont. - The Montana Department of Emergency Service reminds Montanan's across the state that changing spring weather conditions may cause creeks, streams and rivers to rise rapidly.  The National Weather Service in Great Falls is forecasting a warming trend over the next several days lasting throughout next week.  The warming trend combined with above average snow pack conditions increases the possibilities for flooding to occur.
 
The National Weather Service’s forecasts warmer temperatures to move into Montana by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  Afternoon temperatures are expected to climb into the 60's at lower elevations and into the 40's and 50's in the mountains.  This will allow snowmelt to increase in the mountains with rising water levels anticipated on creeks, streams and rivers.  Overnight lows over the plains and lower mountains could remain above freezing each night which would prevent any slowdown in the snowmelt rate.
 
If you live in low-lying areas prone to flooding or near creeks, streams or rivers, you need to be prepared for the potential for flooding.  Never drive through water flowing over a roadways, it only takes a little bit of water to float a vehicle.  Closely monitor your local media outlets or the National Weather Service for the most current conditions and any flood warnings and watches.  While conditions in your immediate area may seem normal, rapid snow melt upstream can quickly impact lower lying areas.  Snow levels are very large in the mountains and the run-off could extend well into June this year.  Residents are reminded that there is a thirty day waiting period from the date flood insurance is purchased before the policy goes into effect.
 
Visit http://serve.mt.gov/flood-preparedness/  for information on how to prepare a Flood Preparedness Kit.  Flooding may cause secondary impacts such as loss of utility service or washed out roads. Please contact your County or Tribal Disaster & Emergency Services coordinator for more information on specific local hazards and information on how to obtain assistance during a flooding event.
 
For more information, contact Mr. Steve Knecht at 406-324-4787 or sknecht@mt.gov.