Rain snaps 33-day dry streak

Rainfall on Tuesday morning snapped a string of 33 straight days without rain in the Flathead Valley.

By 4 p.m., .26 inches of rain had fallen at Glacier Park International Airport.

That’s the first measurable precipitation since June 3 at the National Weather Service’s official gauge at the airport.

Some showers had fallen occasionally at other places in the valley during the long dry streak, but the airport represents official precipitation records.

In the Flathead Valley, the longest period without measurable precipitation was 52 days starting Sept. 29, 1907, according to the Weather Service.

The rain relief may be short-lived: Dry, hot weather is expected to return today with a high of 89 degrees, followed by 94 degrees Thursday and 90 degrees Friday.

At the Glacier Rim Fire north of Columbia Falls, a smattering of rain provided some minor relief as the 90 remaining personnel reached 70 percent containment on Tuesday.

“Rain doesn’t hurt, but we would need probably quite a few days of rain to truly impact the [fire’s] interior,” said Jennifer Rankosky, a spokeswoman for the fire’s incident management team. “They’re still reinforcing the lines, and they have their saw crews working to get more into the interior.”

Water lines surround the fire, and Rankosky said officials hope to begin demobilizing some firefighters and other resources soon.

The fire hasn’t spread since increasing to about 100 acres during a period of high wind Saturday night.

By late Tuesday afternoon, Columbia Falls had registered 0.14 inches of rain, with Hungry Horse receiving 0.43 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

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