Environmental Officials Report Healthy Snowpack in Montana

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Weather and environmental officials said Thursday that Montana’s strong snowpack this winter is expected to keep the state’s reservoirs full or at near capacity heading into the summer.

Gina Loss with the National Weather Service told the Governor’s Drought Advisory Committee that pockets of below-average snowpack remain in the state, especially along the Rocky Mountain Front. But, she said, the state as a whole is about 100 percent of average or better.

The snowpack has been bolstered by recent storms, which also led to some areas in the state recording precipitation anywhere from double to four times the average.

Roy Kaiser with the National Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman told the committee the snowpack has a high water content and streamflows are at 101 percent of average.

That moisture also has translated into good soil conditions, said Steve Anderson with the Montana Agricultural Statistics Service. He said it’s too wet for most farmers to get into their fields, so planting has been delayed, but winter wheat conditions are looking good.

Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who chairs the drought advisory committee, said he was pleased with the various reports.

“We’re off to a good start,” he said. “The critical point to note is that we are near normal for this winter.”

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