Storms Increase Local Snowpack

By Beacon Staff

West-central Montana made sizable jumps in snowpack levels after winter storms blew through the region last week, including a jump of nine percentage points in the Flathead River Basin.

According to the National Weather Service, the snow water equivalent registered at SNOTEL sensors in individual basins saw increased snow levels from Jan. 15 to Jan. 20.

Earlier this month, the weather service reported that snowfall accumulation in Kalispell was the third lowest since information started being gathered in 1948. Through Jan. 9, the overall snowpack levels in the Flathead River Basin were 34 percent below average.

The latest reports have shown an increase from 67 percent of average snowpack on Jan. 15 to 76 percent on Jan. 20 in the Flathead River Basin. The Bitterroot Basin saw the significant leap from 74 percent of average snowpack to 95 percent, and the Kootenai Basin increased from 83 percent to 87 percent.

Unseasonably warm temperatures and low precipitation levels earlier this month contributed to wildfires on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, scorching 18,000 acres in less than 24 hours. The National Weather Service is forecasting more precipitation for this week.

For an up-to-date forecast, visit the National Weather Service.

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