Thursday, June 19, 2014

Storm dumps heavy snow and flooding rains in Glacier National Park

Travelers to Glacier National Park expecting to kick-off the summer season this weekend will be in for a rude awakening. Although the first day of summer is this Saturday, winter continues in the mountains of the park. A late season storm this week has brought heavy snow in the higher elevations of Glacier. The Flattop Mountain SNOTEL Site (6300 feet) recorded roughly 11 inches of snow over the last two days, while Sperry Chalet (6560 feet) reported over 14 inches of fresh snow.


The storm has also brought flooding to the park. The National Weather Service in Great Falls, MT issued this warning last evening:
... FLOOD WARNING EXTENDED UNTIL MONDAY MORNING... THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE ST. MARY RIVER AT BABB. * UNTIL MONDAY MORNING... OR UNTIL THE WARNING IS CANCELLED. * AT 4:00 PM WEDNESDAY THE STAGE WAS 8.0 FEET. * FLOOD STAGE IS 7.5 FEET. * MINOR FLOODING IS OCCURRING AND IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE. * FORECAST... THE RIVER WILL CONTINUE RISING TO NEAR 8.4 FEET BY AFTER MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. THE RIVER IS EXPECTED TO FALL BELOW FLOOD STAGE SUNDAY EVENING.

As a result of the rain and snow, the St. Mary Campground and the Red Eagle Trailhead are closed on the east side of the park, while access to Kintla Lake, about seven miles north of the Polebridge Ranger Station in the North Fork, is also closed. The manager at Sperry said that the chalet is in good shape, and expects it to be open on July 10th. No word on the Granite Park Chalet at this point, but the website states that the expected opening for that facility is still June 30th.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road was expected to open on June 20th, but that likely will be delayed. The storm will also likely push back the opening dates for many of the high elevation trails throughout the park. Be sure to check the park website for the latest conditions before traveling to the trailhead.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier National Park

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