Sunday, January 4, 2009

Montana's snowpack remains below average

Ravalli Republic (Montana): …Unusually cold weather has kept the Bitterroot River basin’s snowpack lower than average and drier than normal. But with two-thirds of winter remaining, local officials said there’s plenty of time for the snowpack to reach normal levels of depth and water content.

The National Weather Service in Missoula forecast a moist westerly air flow this weekend and through much of next week, making for a “good mountain snowpack-building period” in west-central Montana. “It’s hard to say what’s going to happen, but we hope it’s similar to last year,” said Henry Burkwhat, a district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Hamilton.

…“We try to forecast stream flow, but if snowpack melts slowly we’re in better shape. If it melts fast means, you’re toasted,” Burkwhat said. “I like to have a positive attitude about things and we have a lot of time to catch up, particularly with these bigger storms that can increase the snowpack dramatically,” he said. Statewide, the snowpack is about 68 percent of normal and 80 percent of last year’s total. The westside snowpack is 53 percent of average, while the east side’s is 77 percent of average….

Blackfoot and Jackson Glaciers, in Glacier National Park (Montana)

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