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Latest water supply forecast brings mixed news for Montana

NOAA's Monthly Precipitation Outlook map from April 30, 2022 shows that the probability of 'above normal' precipitation in May is above average across Montana and much of the Great Plains.
NOAA-CPC
NOAA's Monthly Precipitation Outlook for May, 2022, issued April 30, 2022.

More water is expected to flow through Montana’s rivers than previously forecast. April’s precipitation provided a badly needed boost to the state’s snowpack.

Three months of warmer and drier-than-average weather finally gave way in April to cool temperatures and widespread moisture.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman said Friday the Missouri headwaters and mainstem received near normal precipitation last month.

Snowpack improved in all of Montana’s major river basins.

NRCS cautions that while April’s cool, wet weather helped, there was such a lack of precipitation from mid-January through March that the gains were not enough to make a full recovery.

Most areas short of normal moisture levels are east of the Continental Divide.

Streamflows along the Rocky Mountain Front and river basins west of the Divide are forecast to be near to above normal through July.

Streamflow projections for southwest Montana, the mainstem of the Missouri, and the Yellowstone remain below normal for May to July.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at edward.obrien@umt.edu.