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Q2 Weather: After weekend deluge seasonal rainfall approaches yearly average in Billings

Posted at 11:40 AM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 13:40:49-04

The rain continues to fall on Montana and another wet weekend has area rivers running high.

Flood concerns have cropped up along the Musselshell and Clarks Fork rivers in the wake of this weekend’s deluge.

The Clarks Fork peaked yesterday and is in the process of receding, which barring any more heavy rainfall events should continue for the rest of the week.

Things have taken slightly longer to develop on the Musselshell, but some of the region’s highest rainfall totals fell in the Musselshell River Basin and that water is starting to pile up.

Areas that have been problem regions over the course of our wet spring once again find themselves with more water than the banks of the Musselshell can handle.

Flood stage has been reached along the Musselshell at Harlowtown, Shawmut and Lavina. Major flood levels are present at Shawmut.

This excess water will move downstream in the coming days and flood conditions are forecast for the City of Roundup as we head towards the weekend.

Rainfall reports from the weekend are wide ranging, but some areas of the Musselshell basin received more than 5 inches of rainfall in a three day period.

In the Clarks Fork basin reports of over 2.5 inches were common.

And a little bit closer to home, reports of around 2 inches came in from around the Billings area.

The Yellowstone River is running fast and high but is not at flood stage in Billings and is forecast to recede in the coming days.

As that water runs downstream there is a chance for minor flood stage along the Yellowstone in Miles City later this week.

With all the rain we have been seeing and the memory of the snowiest winter in Billings history still fresh in the minds of many, it appears that mother nature is set on keeping the precipitation coming our way. But are we on a record setting pace for rainfall as well?

The numbers as they currently stand paint an incredibly soggy picture, but perhaps not a record setting one. Our year to date rain total is 13.46 inches, only two tenths of an inch short of our yearly average rainfall of 13.66 inches.

To put that in the context of the yearly time line, our average rainfall at this point in the year is 7.37 inches, or more than 6 inches less than what we have seen this year.

May and June have been very wet, enough to bring up the conversation of where they fall in the historical landscape. Below are the rainiest months from both May and June.

May Rainfall Totals Inches June Rainfall Totals Inches
2011 9.54 1944 7.64
1981 7.71 1939 7.07
1978 6.97 1969 5.74
2018 5.22 1991 5.62
1938 5.23

We had the fourth rainiest May in Billings history and even though we have had well above average rainfall in June we are still more than two inches away from cracking the top five as listed above. Current June rain total is 3.13 inches.

As far as the all time record books are concerned, the rainiest year in Billings history was 1978 when there was a total of 26.81 inches of rain. 

In other words, we would need to double our current rainfall totals by the time the rain turns to snow in the fall to have a shot at the all time record.

More rain and storms are in the short term forecast as we approach this weekend so keep your ears and eyes to the sky and download the Q2 Weather App for all your weather updates.