State snowpack levels sitting above normal

Print Article

Experts are looking at Montana’s solid snowpack conditions with cautious optimism for a wet spring and summer.

Montana is the only state of the 12 monitored by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services with at least normal snowpack conditions in all basins in the state by the start of this month.

“La Niña weather patterns this year have favored the northern tier states across the western U.S. and so far Montana and Wyoming have been the big winners,” Lucas Zukiewicz, NRCS water supply specialist for Montana, said in a prepared release.

January saw consistent precipitation, though with warmer temperatures in many mountain locations, that precipitation came in a mix of snow and rain.

However, all this precipitation is being stored for the spring, not discharged now.

“Even with the warmer than average weather, the mountain snowpack stood strong through the month with little to no discharge at water yielding elevations,” Zukiewicz said. “The water was stored in the snowpack until runoff in the spring, thanks to a cold snowpack in place from the month of December.”

As of Feb. 1 the Flathead River Basin was at 115 percent of its normal snow water equivalent levels and 147 percent of last year’s total.

The basin is also above average on monthly precipitation.

A good season for snowpack has been apparent in Whitefish as well. Whitefish Mountain Report is reporting 256 inches as its total to date, with a settled base of 125 inches.

Both are above totals from the same time last year, which saw a near-record 406 inches.

Other locations in Montana have had record numbers this season.

One SNOTEL site set a new Feb. 1 record — Frohner Meadow SNOTEL south of Helena — and eight other SNOTEL sites and snow courses are recording the second highest snow water equivalent totals for the date. Percentage wise, the best snowpack in the state can be found in the Upper Clark Fork at 140 percent of normal, the Missouri Mainstem near Helena at 148 percent, Upper Yellowstone at 148 percent and Gallatin River basins at 129 percent.

Snowpack will be important in the next few months, as total snowpack will peak and the precipitation will help ensure a water supply for the coming season.

“Should La Niña and associated weather patterns continue to favor the state with above normal snowfall, or even normal snowfall from this point, water supply could be more than adequate for irrigation and recreation this summer,” Zukiewicz said “But, if the pattern takes a turn, and the snow faucet shuts off, the prospects of our water supply would be diminished.”

Monthly water supply outlook reports can be found after the fifth business day of the month, at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/mt/snow/waterproducts/basin/

Print Article

Read More

The world as her textbook

May 24, 2018 at 7:25 am | Whitefish Pilot One of Grace Scrafford’s defining times during high school was when she spent a semester in South America. “I love to travel and see new things,” she said. “We traveled to places I’ve always heard ...

Comments

Read More

City approves affordable housing development

May 23, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Whitefish Pilot Whitefish City Council has approved a proposal to develop a completely affordable housing project in the city. Council on May 21 unanimously approved the 58-lot Trail View subdivision planned for n...

Comments

Read More

Legals May 23, 2018

May 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | No. 2432 PUBLIC NOTICE OF FOOD VENDOR PERMIT APPLICATION The City of Whitefish Planning Department has received the following Food Vendor Permit application: 1. A request by Chris Farrell, owner, Ope...

Read More

Community Briefs May 23

May 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Whitefish Pilot Memorial Day The Whitefish VFW Post 276 is holding a Memorial Day parade at 3 p.m. through downtown. A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial Bridge at 3:15 p.m. and the par...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2018 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X