MTPR

Lucas Zukiewicz

Year-to-date precipitation basin percentage of normal.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Below-normal precipitation last month combined with warmer seasonal temperatures nibbled around the edges of Montana’s snowpack, but it could have been a lot worse.

It turns out that February’s bitter cold and record snowfall had an important upside. It bought Montana’s snowpack a little extra time during what turned out to be a very dry March.

Sub-basin snow water equivalent - March 1, 2019.
NRCS Montana Snow Survey Staff

February bucked all expectations of warmer-than-average temperatures and below normal snowfall.

“One of the things that is unique about this job is things can turn around pretty quickly, so you end up eating crow more often than you’d like,” says Lucas Zukiewicz, a water supply specialist with the Bozeman-based Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Sub-basin snow water equivalent - Feb. 1, 2019.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

January didn’t start out great for Montana’s snowpack. The Bozeman-based Natural Resources Conservation Service says the first half of last month was dry across much of the state.

But NRCS Water Supply Specialist, Lucas Zukiewicz, says things picked up with late-January storms.

Sub-basin snow water equivalent - Jan. 1, 2019.
NRCS Montana Snow Survey Staff / USDA

Montana’s snowpack is hit or miss so far this winter. The Bozeman-based Natural Resources Conservation Service says autumn snowstorms laid a good foundation, but it's still too early to know where the season will go. 

Flooding in Missoula along the north end of Tower Street, May 7, 2018.
Josh Burnham

This year’s record snowpack is rapidly melting, and it started earlier than normal.

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