Snowpack 121 percent of average

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A snow filled meadow sits at the base of the Swan Mountains in the east valley on Monday afternoon. The snow pack in the mountains is 21 percent above normal.

It may seem as if there has been unusually steady snowfall this winter, but Northwest Montana’s mountain snowpack is only somewhat ahead of the 30-year average.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service said the snowpack above the Flathead River Basin was at 121 percent of average at the end of January. That’s 59 percent higher than at the same time last year.

The Kootenai River Basin is at 107 percent of average and 42 percent ahead of the level at the end of January last year.

For all Montana drainages that flow to the Columbia River Basin, the snowpack  is 113 percent of average.

There’s still plenty of time for snow to pile up, since Feb. 1 is when Western Montana historically has reached 65 percent of its seasonal snowfall.

Both Flathead Valley ski areas have more than nine feet of snow on the ground.

Whitefish Mountain Resort has been getting plenty of snow recently, with 11 inches over the last week contributing to a settled base of 106 inches at the summit, 85 inches at midmountain and 68 inches in the village area.

Blacktail Mountain, meanwhile, reported Sunday that it has a settled base is 114 inches of snow.

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