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March drier than normal, but Idaho snowpack still at record levels

By: Jake Putnam
Published in Blog on  April 08, 2019

BOISE – The Natural Resources Conservation Service says the April Water Supply Outlook Report for the 2019 water year is looking better than normal.

“Streamflow forecasts decreased a little from March because of the below normal March snow and rain but still mirror the snowpack, increasing as you move from northern Idaho to southern Idaho,” said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist with the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service.

While March turned out to be a drier than normal month, thanks to February’s record snowpack all indicators reveal adequate water supply for users throughout Idaho.

Looking at precipitation, the lowest percentages were a third of average in northern Idaho. The Clearwater basin did slightly better at 40% of normal. Moving south, amounts increased, but only to 50 to 80% of average across central and southern Idaho. Greater precipitation amounts that were closer to near normal fell in Oakley and Bear River basins because the primary March storm track was across the Great Basin. South of the Owyhee, Bruneau, Salmon Falls and Goose headwaters in Nevada and Utah, March precipitation totals reached 150 to 200% of average.

As the snow accumulation season winds down, reservoir operators have a good feel for how much snow is in the mountains to meet and exceed this year’s water supplies. Since enough snow has fallen in the mountains to ensure adequate irrigation supplies this season, many of the farmers’ and irrigators’ decisions have already been made.

Recreationists should be able to enjoy spring skiing until the snowmelt season fully kicks in; and early season river runners will also want to keep an eye on the Owyhee River. 

For information on specific basins, streams, and reservoirs, please view the full report online at April Water Supply Outlook Report.

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