A gradual, slow warmup, is the key to keeping dry when runoff starts this spring.
Ravalli County's Emergency Management director knows the Bitterroot River will be rising a foot or two late next week. High water is an inevitable fact of spring.
Ron Nicholas said flooding possibility is reduced if temperatures don't get too warm, and we don't get much rain.
He compares this year to 1997, a year when Ravalli County had a lot of snowpack, and spring flooding too.
He said sand and sandbags will be available to fire departments for distribution to residents.
"We know that it melts in a hurry," said Nicholas, "and there's a lot of snow that could come down. We're at 160 percent of our average precipitation, so anything is possible."
Nicholas said people can help prevent flooding by cleaning their ditches and culverts of debris, and making sure there's a clear passageway for high waters to flow.