2022 likely to join Montana’s worst floods

Griffen Smith

Montana’s roaring rivers are keen to flooding and shattering records, but it takes a perfect storm seen about half a dozen times in recorded history to cause the widespread damage seen last week.

The 2022 flood season has set new high water marks along the Yellowstone River and its major tributaries throughout south-central Montana. Minor floods also gripped western Montana, with the Flathead River experiencing a prolonged minor flood.

Experts agreed that ongoing high water will join a notorious group of floods to shape regional river banks, but 2022 is not the most destructive or deadliest. Years like 1964, 1908 and 2011 produced hell-like landscapes, trapped towns and killed dozens of people.

These widespread flooding years draw from the same fuel: a barrage of rain, melting and mixing with above-average snowpack during a quick warm-up.

The most severe

Butch Larcombe, retired journalist and author of “Montana Disasters: True Stories of Treasure State Tragedies and Triumphs,” said this year’s flood rivals conditions from 1964, where dozens of rivers over-topped their banks and caused extensive damage.

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“The 1964 flood is a classic example of economic damage,” Larcombe said. “Miles

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