Concerns over snowpack

As drought continues, western mountain water outlook gets bleeker. Moving into the second half of the snowpack season, there are enough clues now to start taking a look at how forecasters think things will shake out.

According to water surveys, the impact of months of dry weather is the depleted state of reservoirs and historic lack of moisture in the soil, that plus La Nina’s recent weather pattern shows that the snowpack season is not favorable for much of the region.

“Water equivalent of the snowpack averages six inches. That data from January 5th. That is only 54 percent of average,” USDA’s Brad Rippey explains. “The reservoirs currently stand at 87 percent of average storage. That is down quite a bit from this time a year ago, when we saw storage at 114 percent of average.”

He says that for the foreseeable future, La Nina storm pattern will continue out west. Which means storminess for the north part of the region and lack of appreciable participation in the southern two-thirds of the west.


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