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Montana was 'disappointingly dry' in February

 A March 1, 2022 map showing snow-water equivalent in Montana as a percentage of the NRCS 1991-2020 median.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
A March 1, 202,2 map showing snow-water equivalent in Montana as a percentage of the NRCS 1991-2020 median.

Snowpack experts say Montana was "disappointingly dry" last month, further eroding the state’s already dwindling snowpack.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman says a stubborn ridge of high pressure last month blocked badly needed moisture from flowing into the Rockies.

NRCS snow survey hydrologist Eric Larson says there’s generally less snowpack in the state than there was at this time last year. Southwest Montana has so far only received 50 percent to 80 percent of its typical precipitation, and even set record low accumulations for February.

“[The] Upper Yellowstone, Madison, Gallatin and south, southwest Montana definitely need a good two-to-three-foot storm to put us back on track,” Larson said.

That’s a heavy lift, but Larson says it’s neither impossible nor unprecedented. While western Montana tends to get most of its precipitation during the winter months, southwest and eastern Montana typically benefit the most from springtime precipitation.
Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.