Could Montana Snow Impact Missouri River?


BISMARCK — Many locations across the KX area are seeing their first snowflakes of the season Wednesday.

But for our friends out in Montana, they continue to dig out from last weekend’s massive snowstorm.

And that snow was of the heavy, wet variety, meaning it had lots of water in it — about two to three inches to be exact.

Wednesday, KX News spoke with the National Weather Service which tells us we sort of lucked out as the jackpot snowfall fell on the other side of the continental divide, so any quick melting that takes place will not have an impact on the Missouri River.

However, nearly two feet of snow fell in-and-around Great Falls which does drain into the Missouri Basin and that water does eventually end up here.

So with temperatures across Montana expected to be in the upper 60s next week, we asked how a rapid melt could impact North Dakota.

“As that melt takes place, that which is in the Missouri River Basin is going to end up coming through the system, but the reality is it’s going to go through all those dams in the upper Missouri, to include Fort Peck and trickle on down, it’s doing to take an awful long time for that water to show up in North Dakota,” said NWS Bismarck Hydrologist Allen Schlag.

And he adds because of that time the water levels should thankfully not rise very much.

But he adds streamflow for the Mouse River in Minot and the Heart River continue to run well above the norm for this time of the year.

He also tells KX News he’s getting increasingly concerned about the possibility of spring flooding simply because of how much moisture is in the soil.

And if that freezes, the water from the spring snowmelt will have nowhere to go.

But there’s still a lot of time for things to change so their not pushing the panic button just yet.

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