Posted: Mar 7, 2013 1:45 PM by Meteorologist Mike Heard
Updated: Mar 7, 2013 1:46 PM
March 1 Montana Snowpack Levels Down Slightly
BOZEMAN, Mont., March 7, 2013 - Snowpack readings at the end of February declined again slightly for the second month in a row across Montana, bringing snowpack levels to 93 percent of normal statewide and 85 percent of last year, according to snow survey data from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The dip in February was three percentage points, while January dropped seven percent. According to NRCS, snowfall was consistent during February, tracking close to normal. Some areas received a modest increase in snow water equivalent, but most saw a slight decrease. "Near normal snowpack is a good sign this time of year because at this point we are typically 80 percent complete with the normal snow accumulation season," said Brian Domonkos, NRCS water supply specialist.
The Milk River Basin had the highest snowpack levels in the state on March 1 at 119 percent of median, while the Bitterroot is the lowest in the state at 85 percent of median.
According to Domonkos, it was this point last year when the Lower Yellowstone River basins experienced an abrupt change in weather patterns, going from well above average snowpack in late February to melting in mid-March, which is as much as a month and a half early. "Two main factors contributed to the early deficient runoff-record high temperatures and the strong warm winds that descended over the Big Horn Mountains" said Domonkos. "Thankfully, this same weather pattern does not seem to be setting up this year."
For detailed snowpack information go to:
Given the current snowpack in place and near normal forecasted future precipitation and temperatures, streamflows are predicted to be near to slightly below average this runoff season. The table below provides normalized streamflow forecasts for each river basin in Montana.
Below are the averaged river basin streamflow forecasts for April 1 through July 31. These forecasts assume near normal moisture and runoff conditions April through July.
For detailed basin streamflow forecast information go to: ftp://ftp.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/support/water/provisional_forecasts/montana/mt.txt