IDAHO’S WATER SUPPLY OUTLOOK WELL ABOVE NORMAL
"Temperatures all year were cold in Madison County and we're seeing the first runoff now. But most of the snow is still in the mountains," said farmer Dwight Little of Newdale.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service released their fourth water supply outlook report for this year and almost across the board snowpacks are the deepest in decades.
Based on the state Surface Water Supply Index, Snow Survey manager Shawn Field said after years of drought, snowpacks look good. “There are no expected water supply shortages expected across 99% of the state, The greatest concern, especially in southern Idaho, is too much snow and how to safely release all that water.”
Snowfall since the water year started on October 1, 2016, is above average across the state, and a record breaking 180% of average on the Big Wood Basin above Hailey. Other basins have their highest snowpack in two decades.
Northern Idaho's Panhandle Region and Clearwater basins are the closest to normal snowpack conditions across the state this year. Overall, the Salmon River basin snow is 130% of median, the best since 2006.
The Weiser snowpack is mostly melted but at 105% of median. Overall, the Payette basin is 118% of median. The snowpack in the Boise headwaters is 140 to 160% of median – its highest since 1997. The Big Wood basin snowpack remains record high since the 7-station index starts in 1961. The Little Wood snow is 174% of median, the highest since 1983.
At 174% of median, the Big Lost snowpack is the highest since 1997. As a whole, the Henrys Fork snowpack is 114% of median. The rest of the Upper Snake River tributaries range from 179% of median in the Hoback basin to 119% in the Salt. The Snake above Palisades Reservoir snowpack is 141% of median, the highest since 1997.
The Willow, Blackfoot and Portneuf basins range from 87 to115% of median. At 143% of median, the Bear River snowpack is at its highest since 1997. Snowpacks across Idaho’s southern border range from 100 to120% of median and have lost some of the mid-elevation snow, but the higher elevation snow is still near normal or better.
Idaho Governor Butch otter has declared flood disasters in 18 counties so far because of cool spring temperatures and slow runoff.
"This is a long ways from over,” Otter said “There is just an awful lot of solid water out there right now that as the weather warms up or we get another rain event that turns that liquid, we're really going to have some problems."