Some Western Montana Counties Still in Severe Drought
After very little snow in early January, Montana witnessed a lot more precipitation toward the end of the month, however, Natural Resources Conservation Service water supply specialist Lucas Zukiewicz says areas in Northern Montana are still struggling with a lack of snow pack.
"The Kooteni and the Flathead river basins are below normal at this time, they saw dry conditions at the first part of [January]," Zukiewicz said. "Actually, there was a substantial amount of snowfall during the middle to late part of the month, but that wasn't enough to bring them back to normal. As we move south, along the divide in the west, we're seeing near normal conditions in the Bitterroot and even the upper Clark Fork basins which have been a little more favored with the precipitation we got toward the end of the month."
The snow pack is lower for areas in the north than for areas further south, overall the amount of snow received in late January was just not enough.
"The take home point is that those two weeks of high pressure at the first part of the month, really caused our basins to decline, so even though we saw a more active weather pattern during the second half of the month, it was kind of too little too late and the northwest and north central basins are below normal at this time, while the southwest basins and southern basins are near or even above normal."
At the beginning of 2016, Powell Lake, Glacier and Pondera counties in Western Montana were all considered to still be in severe drought.