Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snow: Money in the Bank

Snow packs Heavy--But its still early
Boise-For the first time in a decade almost all of Idaho's 22 river basins are reporting above normal snow and rainfall and that's good news not only for farmers but to Idaho's recovering economy.

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service reports that water in the snow pack is above average in all but three northern or north central Idaho basins.

The past series of storms buried Idaho ski resorts with more than three feet of fresh snow. This latest storm has proven too much of a good thing. Bogus Basin and Pomerelle had to close after Tuesday's storm because of drifting snow.

Ron Abramovich of the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service says the storms will keep Idaho’s mountain snowpack on track to meet or beat annual levels. His agency will compile data and measure snowpack until April 1st then predict the summer water supply.

“The storms have been coming in, and with the La Nina influence, they’re going to keep on coming,” Abramovich said. “So far, so good.”

Abramovich says its a strong La Nina year, that means that the jet stream stays north and brings moisture off the ocean to the Pacific Northwest.

Snow pack is vitally important to Idaho's agricultural economy especially in the southern river basins that feed the Snake River, areas over the past 30 years have proven to be vulnerable to drought. In late 2010 the basins are buried under snow with the Raft Basin near the Utah border reporting 161 percent of average.

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