Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rocky Bailey of Fruitvale, Idaho spends his winter riding his 800 Polaris Dragon snowmobile on Cuddy mountain in the Payette National Forest. Trail blazing through timber and boondocking over the mountains is a required skill to ride in this neck of the woods. Ritter photo

Snowpack tracking above normal

Boise– Snow survey crews from the Natural Resources Conservation Service measured Idaho snowpacks last week and results show that the Gem State is on track for an adequate water supply this year.

Above normal fall rain and snowfall along with December’s storms is good news for the water supply forecast. Combine that with average reservoir carryover and the water supply for 2011 looks promising.

NRCS conducts snow surveys at the end of each month from December through May to make snow runoff predictions and water supply forecasts used in managing Idaho’s water resources.

“The La Niña storm track dominating the weather this winter usually brings lots of moisture to the Pacific Northwest,” said Ron Abramovich, NRCS Water Supply Specialist. “So far this year the track is staying further south and that is affecting the snowpack in Idaho’s Panhandle.”

The Panhandle Region and Clearwater basin have the lowest snowpacks in the state ranging from 82-98%. “This La Nina pattern is expected to continue through mid-winter, so there is still time for the Pacific Northwest to get its due,” said Abramovich.

“Southern Idaho is on the northern edge of the storm track so basins south of the Snake River are fairing very well with snowpacks ranging from 129 to 155 % of average,” said Abramovich

The deeper than normal snowpacks across most of Idaho are good news for backcountry recreationists. This year’s snowpack lacks last season’s weak layers. But snowpack conditions change over time so stay informed of the current avalanche danger at www.avalanche.org.

For more information about snowpack, precipitation, runoff and water supplies for specific basins, please view the complete January 2011 Water Supply Outlook Report online at www.id.nrcs.usda.gov/snow and click on the ‘Water Supply’ link.

More information on these changes as well as other informative data, graphs and maps are available from our snow survey Web pages at http://www.id.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/.

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