Wet Weather in January Improves Snowpack and Water Supply Outlook
Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist
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BOISE, ID February 3, 2012 – The Natural Resources Conservation Service released February's Water Supply Report indicating late-January storms enhanced the water supply outlook for this summer.
"The transformation in Idaho's snowpack in the second half of January was amazing," said Ron Abramovich, Idaho NRCS Water Supply Specialist. "In some places snowfall was measured in feet and not inches."
Monthly precipitation totals were not unusually high across the state. Basins in southern Idaho received the most precipitation. Statewide, Idaho's snowpack ranges form 65 to 90% of normal.
"Since December first, Idaho's significant snowfalls were compressed into two short bursts, three days at the end of December and 10 days in mid-January," said Abramovich. "These storms boosted Idaho's snowpack but snowfall over the next two months will influence what kind of snowpack we'll end the season with."
Another high pressure ridge is building over the west so the first part of February will possibly be dry like January. "The long term climate forecasts still predict La Niña conditions will bring above average precipitation to the Pacific Northwest for the next several months," Abramovich said. "Those storms will be needed to push snowpack percentages back up and ensure a healthy 2012 water supply for Idaho."
Abramovich added that Idaho's reservoirs were storing more water at the end of January than has occurred in the last several years. There is excellent carryover water storage from last year for irrigation, power generation and other uses that rely on the snowpack for water supplies.
NRCS conducts snow surveys at the end of each month from December through May to make snow runoff predictions and water supply forecasts used in managing Idaho's water resources.
For more information about snowpack, precipitation, runoff and water supplies for specific basins, please view the complete February 2012 Water Supply Outlook Report online at www.id.nrcs.usda.gov/snow and click on the 'Water Supply' link.
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