Recent Snow Improves Snowpack Across Montana

Recent Snow Improves Snowpack Across Montana

Source: KZBK Bozeman News
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By Mike Heard – MTN News

Yesterday the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) issued their monthly update on snowpack conditions across Montana and in that report they said Montana is running near to slightly below normal. The report did not reflect the first week of February and the recent major dumping of snow this week.

Attached to this report is the mountain snowpack percent of average water content graphic updated on February 7th from NRCS. It shows all basin have seen an increase in moisture content in the snowpack thanks to frequent storms this past week. Across SW Montana the Madison River basin is up to 95% of average or “near normal”. The Upper Yellowstone is up to 119% of average or “slightly above normal”. The rest of SW Montana remains in the 80% to 90% range and that is considered “slightly below normal”.

The greatest improvements in snowpack water content is in the northwest and north central ranges like the Sun, Teton and Marias basins with a huge jump up to 111% of average running slightly above normal. The Kootenai and Flathead basins are up in the 90% range and that is a nice increase in NW Montana.

Looking to the forecast for this rest of this week another round of light to moderate snow is expected Tuesday night for much of Southern Montana with a stronger storm likely Thursday impacting much of Montana. The storm event on Thursday will likely bring another shot of wet heavy snow to western and NW Montana with valley rainfall and much warmer temperatures. This weather pattern could increase mountain snowpack water content but there will likely be some melting as well. Melting snow could bring some flooding issues to Ravalli county and the Bitterroot river Thursday and Friday with rain and warming temperatures leading to rapidly melting snow.

I will update this information again late next week and it will be interesting to see if the current data holds, drops or increases with the next round or two of storms and a warming trend by the end of this week.