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Snowpack is above normal across western Montana going into January

 Major basin snow-water equivalent, Jan. 1, 2023.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Major basin snow-water equivalent, Jan. 1, 2023.

According to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman, Montana’s snowpack conditions are "ideal" following two months of near constant precipitation. However, they warn that even though all of the major river basins now have above-normal snowpack, it’s still early in the winter season and a lot can change by springtime.

As of Jan. 1, the Upper Clark Fork and Bitterroot River basins had the lowest snowpack percentage at about 100 percent of normal. The Milk River basin boasted the highest snowpack at 159 percent of normal.

Typically by Jan. 1, Montana’s snowpack is about 40 percent accumulated for the season. Water supply experts generally have a better idea of the spring and summer water supply outlook closer to April.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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