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Montana's water supply outlook remains strong

Montana sub-basin snow water equivalent map as of 04-09-23.
Montana sub-basin snow water equivalent map as of 04-09-23.

Consistent and mostly above normal precipitation and snowpack means the statewide water supply outlook is either maintaining or improving across most of the state.

The latest snowpack numbers are impressive. According to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman, east of the divide March precipitation ranged from about 100% of normal in the Bighorn Mountains to nearly 170% of normal in the Jefferson River Basin.

Farmers and ranchers in north central Montana are celebrating the wettest winter and spring in years.

Snowpack in northwest Montana and the northern Rocky Mountain Front generally lagged the rest of the state. NRCS Bozeman says the largest snowpack boost of March occurred in southwest and central Montana.

Expected record warmth early this week prompted flood watches and advisories from Beaverhead County up to the Hi-Line. Minor flooding is possible in low lying and poorly drained areas as warm temperatures rapidly peel off snowpack.

The snowmelt is expected to be short-lived as cool and showery conditions return for the remainder of the work week.

Copyright 2023 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward F. O'Brien