Region’s snowpack above average

Print Article

“Snow” written on the back windshield of a vehicle near the lodge at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area’s opening day Saturday, Dec. 23. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

Three weeks into winter, Northwest Montana’s snowpack is looking good.

Data collected by the Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) sensor network show a snowpack with slightly more water than normal for mid-January.

“It seems like the forecasted La Niña is standing up,” said Lucas Zukiewicz, Water Supply Specialist for the State of Montana. “Unlike a lot of places, we’ve seen pretty consistent snow.”

SNOTEL, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, monitors snowpacks at 380 stations around the West.

Because snow depth and density can vary greatly, these sensors record “snow water equivalent” – the depth, in inches, of water that a snowpack would generate if it instantly melted.

Northwest Montana’s sensors on Thursday showed values ranging from 4.4 inches, at Pike Creek near Browning, to 27.5 inches at Noisy Basin northeast of Bigfork.

Scientists compare these readings to the “30-year normal” median value for each date, drawn from the 1981-2010 observation period. The Flathead Basin currently stands at 119 percent of its normal for Jan. 11, while the Kootenai is at 101 percent and the Lower Clark Fork at 102. The Upper Clark Fork Basin east of Missoula is at 139 percent of average, while the Gallatin Basin is at 132 percent.

Zukiewicz credited the storms that rolled through the region in late December with the numbers, but said that, so far, this winter isn’t an outlier. “It’s not anomalous” to see snow-water equivalents that reach 120 percent of the average, he told the Daily Inter Lake.

Snow depth in Northwest Montana mountains above 6,000 feet is generally 85 to 90 inches deep. A SNOTEL station at Flattop Mountain in Glacier National Park shows 89 inches of settled snowpack. To the south, the North Fork Jacko station near Seeley Lake shows 86 inches of snow on the ground.

To view SNOTEL data, visit https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/snow_map.html.

Reporter Patrick Reilly can be reached at preilly@dailyinterlake.com, or at 758-4407.

Print Article

Read More

Beware of decaffeinated wife

September 18, 2018 at 9:46 am | Daily Inter Lake A man asked Columbia Falls Police to come to his home after discovering his vehicle tires had been slashed. The man asked the responding officers not to knock on the door because his wife was in the ...

Comments

Read More

Patricia Ann (Clark) Wendt, 84

September 18, 2018 at 9:46 am | Daily Inter Lake Patricia Ann (Clark) Wendt was born on Jan. 29, 1934, to Joseph and Rose Clark in Kalispell. She attended grade school at Sparks School, now West Valley School, before attending St. Matthew School an...

Comments

Read More

Dean Goodrich, 64

September 18, 2018 at 9:46 am | Daily Inter Lake Dean Goodrich passed away the morning of Sept. 11, 2018, after an arduous battle with brain cancer. He is survived by his wife Jacy, sister Carleen, niece Breanne, and nephew Eric. He was born on...

Comments

Read More

Don ‘Buzz’ MacCarter, 74

September 18, 2018 at 9:46 am | Daily Inter Lake Don “Buzz” MacCarter, 74, originally from Billings and later of Paradise Valley, Livingston, died peacefully at home after a long bout with cancer. Ever since 1978, Don and his wife Jane, daughter Mi...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X