January snowpack declines following an exceptionally snowy December
December’s exceptional snowfall continued right into the first week of January — then the tap shut off. Clear skies and warmer-than-normal temperatures dominated the rest of the month, sending the state's mountain snowpack level into a slight dip.
“All major river basins have a below-normal snowpack, except for the Lower Clark Fork, Kootenai and St. Mary’s River basins," explained Eric Larson, a snow survey hydrologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman.
Last fall forecasters predicted a particularly cold and snowy La Niña winter for Montana. The one-month extended outlook again calls for an elevated chance of above normal precipitation, but Larson says that’s not a guarantee.
"The good news is there are still about 2 to 3 months remaining in our snow accumulation season," he said.
As of last week, 85.9 percent of the state was still categorized as being in severe drought.
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