Monday, February 6, 2017

Snowpack above normal


BOISE – The Natural Resources Conservation Service just released the second water supply outlook report for the 2016 water year. Precipitation since the water year started on October 1, 2016, varies across the state with the majority of the watershed basins at 96 to 170% of normal.

 “In January, the Salmon River was the dividing track for the jet stream and storm systems that brought well below-normal precipitation to the north and up to twice normal January amounts south of the river,” said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist with the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service.  

The highest snowpack in Idaho can currently be found in the Bear River and Owyhee Basins where it is 170% of median. The lowest snowpacks are between 65 and 70% of median in the Panhandle Region basins. Elsewhere in the state, snowpacks vary with the elevation, so individuals concerned with particular areas should look at the specific data from those individual sites.  

Based on Idaho’s Surface Water Supply Index, water supply shortages are not expected.  However, due to the variable conditions across Idaho this year, water users north of the Salmon River may wish to consider streamflow forecasts with drier outcomes, while their peers south of the Salmon should consider using the wetter forecasts if the current weather patterns continue.  

“We’re nowhere near the end of the game,” Abramovich said. “However, things are looking good -- with more storms forecast for early February. Let’s just hope the low evaluation snow melts gradually.”   For information on specific basins, streams, and reservoirs, please view the full report online at February Water Supply Outlook Report.

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