Yes, the Snow Level is Still Way Above Average
In their monthly report, Natural Resources Conservation Service specialists note that many Montana snowcourses are the highest on record for this date, especially the Upper Yellowstone River, the Upper Clark Fork and the Upper Missouri Mainstem River basins. The snow water equivalent for the Upper Clark Fork is at 156 percent of normal and 170 percent of last year. The Bitterroot levels are 134 percent of normal and 128 percent of last year. Ten automated SNOTEL and snowcourse locations are at the highest on record for the beginning of April.
Water supply specialist Lucas Zukiewicz said the precipitation was about 100 percent (normal), but that there was "still more to come." Because of that, the flood forecast is a little daunting for the Clark Fork, which could range from 148 percent of normal all the way up to 231 percent - dependent on the weather in the next two months.
In a news release, Zukiewicz said, "Having a big snowpack is a double-edged sword. You know there will be plenty of snowpack to feed the rivers, which is typically great news, but the uncertainty of how and when it will come out can keep you up at night."
He said that water users should read the May 1st NRCS Water Supply Outlook to help prepare for runoff this spring and summer. The National Weather Service is forecasting above average precipitation and below average temperatures through April. There's more information at the NRCS website.