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Odd Snow Season Continues

Looking west over the Bitterroots. (KLYQ Photo)

The Bitterroot River drainage is almost keeping up with the average snowpack levels this season.
The latest National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) measurements from January 1st show the average for the valley at 90 percent, which is 94 percent of last year at this time.
The levels point to pretty good irrigation supplies for the rest of the year, a little over 90 percent.
However, nearby in other areas of Southwest Montana, the snow levels have only reached the 80 percent levels. Of course, the levels can change, depending on the weather patterns over the next month, since over half the snowpack accumulation season remains. Officials say that some areas will possibly have low streamflows this year.
Brain Domonkos, NRCS snow water supply specialist, said that La Nina-like temperatures in the Pacific Ocean usually mean more precipitation in Montana, but after a good wet start to the season, it’s dried up.
That also increases avalanche danger, as any new wet snow piles up on dry unstable snowpack, making a collapse of the snow shelf more likely.
Last year, Donomkos said, the above average precipitation and below average temperatures continued into June.

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