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Bitterroot Snowpack is Lower Than Last Year

Bitterroot Mountains
Snow in the Bitterroot Mountain Range. (KLYQ File Photo)
The first snow survey of 2013 from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana showed over normal snowpack for the Missouri River Headwaters, but below normal for the Columbia River Headwaters, which includes the Clark Fork and the Bitterroot Rivers.

The Bitterroot drainage average snowpack is 86 percent of normal. Last year at the time, the snowpack was 97 percent of normal. Most of the accumulation came during during early December.

However, the NRCS water supply specialist Brian Domonkos said in a news release, “Snowpack is currently positioned well for the remainder of the year, provided near normal snowfall for the remaining season.”

The Flathead has received the most precipitation since October 1, with 120 percent of average. However the snowpack is 94 percent of average.

Domonkos said that National Weather Service is predicting above average precipitation for western Montana through March.

Agriculture and recreation specialists look at the streamflow forecast each month during the winter. Right now, the forecast for the Bitterroot River is 103 of average from April through July. The ground under the snow received a good amount of rain before the snow began to fall. The forecast also assumes near normal moisture and runoff conditions.

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