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Bitterroot Snowpack Is Above Average

st mary peak
Snow on St Mary's Peak west of Stevensville. That black building is a Forest Service lookout. (KLYQ file photo)
There’s snow in “them thar hills”.

The latest snow surveys from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service shows an increasing snowpack in all of Montana’s major basins.

That includes the Bitterroot River basin, where the late winter storms have added 2 percent more snow, leading to 101 percent of average snowpack and 103 percent of last year’s average.

Western Montana has fared better than eastern Montana this year, with the Missouri Headwaters at only 80-85 percent of average, though they are better than last year’s averages, according to the March 1 numbers.

Forecasts add that in 2011, March and April brought much more snow than expected, and conditions this year “are quite variable….and still warrant a watchful eye over the coming months,” said Brian Domonkos, water supply specialist.

Streamflow forecasts for summer have improved slightly. Most of that gain was in the Yellowstone River Basin.

The Bitterroot streamflow forecasts for April through July is 101 percent of average, which bodes well for irrigation and recreation uses.

If you love to look at numbers, check here at the Natural Resource Conservation Service website for Montana snowpack figures.

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