Flash Floods Could Threaten Lolo Homes - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Flash Floods Could Threaten Lolo Homes

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MISSOULA -

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Missoula County after rare, heavy thunderstorms and showers moved into the area.

Meteorologists said they're concerned about debris flowing through land scarred by the Lolo Creek Complex fire, towards homes along Highway 12.

They said they're most concerned about heavy rain showers in the area, meaning about 1/3 of an inch of rain fall in half an hour.

They said flash floods are rare in dense, forested areas, but the Lolo Creek Complex wildfire -- now 95% contained -- has burned nearly 11,000 acres of fuel, changing the landscape.

Marty Whitmore, of National Weather Service said, "Once you've taken away that canopy, with a fire, and you've also burned most of the organic material on the ground --  I mean, the really hot sections of a fire -- there's nothing really to stop the water when it comes down."

The NWS has issued a flash flood "watch," but they may issue a "warning" if storms become more intense.

If a flash flood "warning" is issued, they said residents along Highway 12 should not attempt to barricade their homes against flash floods, but to evacuate and seek higher ground immediately.

Crews on the Lolo Creek Complex fire are "demobilizing," meaning resources are leaving because the fire has not grown in several days and is almost completely contained.

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