An aerial view shows bank erosion near homes off of Mullowney Lane as flooding continues on the Yellowstone River.
After hovering just below flood stage for much of the past four days, the Yellowstone River is likely to reach only minor flood levels in Billings this week, with an expected crest nearly 3 feet below initial predictions.
The latest river forecast from the National Weather Service, published around noon on Monday, shows river levels rising only about 4 more inches during the next 48 hours. The crest is now expected to reach 13.6 feet, just above the 13.5-foot threshold for “minor flood stage.”
Late last week, county and city officials had begun preparing for a potentially damaging flooding event, after the weather service issued a forecast Thursday anticipating the river in Billings to crest nearly 18 inches above its historic high-water mark of 15 feet, set in June 1997.
Although above-average snowmelt from the river’s headwaters have kept tributaries and the main stem of the Yellowstone higher than normal, much of the possible flooding was dependent on heavy rains expected Sunday and Monday in the foothills that feed into the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone.
By Monday morning, the bulk of that rainfall had fallen to the south ...