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News Release

June 1 Snowpack Improves as Variable Conditions Remain

Contact:
Brian Domonkos
406-587-6991


 


Bozeman--Statewide snowpack increased 17 percent in May and as much as a 32 percent in individual basins, according to June 1 snow survey data released by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Large temperature swings accompanied by near average moisture brought significant snowstorms, as well as rain, to the watersheds of Montana over the course of May, said , NRCS water supply specialist for Montana. “Cooler temperatures through May not only slowed the accelerated melt-rates of April, but allowed more precipitation to fall in the form of snow rather than rain.”

In general, 30 percent of this year’s snowpack remains due to a late May snowstorm. SNOTEL (SNOwTELemetry) data shows scattered basins still have considerable snowpacks, enough to drive streamflow peaks into June. “Most notably snowpack totals are above average in the northern and central two thirds of the state, while the southern third, although improved, is still below average,” Domonkos said. “The only southern watershed to see snowpack gains through May was the Lower Yellowstone.”

Snow Water Content
River Basin Percent of Average Last Year Percent of Average May Percent Change
Columbia 121 237 +21
-- Kootenai, Montana 145 249 +16
-- Flathead, Montana 133 235 +32
-- Upper Clark Fork 96 240 +16
-- Bitterroot 76 207 -8
-- Lower Clark Fork 121 288 -14
Missouri 85 261 +12
Missouri Headwaters 76 240 +6
-- Jefferson 64 228 0
-- Madison 78 218 0
-- Gallatin 81 244 +1
Missouri Mainstem 109 328 +27
-- Headwaters Mainstem 82 300 +10
-- Smith-Judith-Musselshell 109 386 +21
-- Sun-Teton-Marias 118 273 +32
-- Milk (Bearpaw Mtns) -- --- ---
St. Mary 126 170 +6
St. Mary and Milk 133 167 +14
Yellowstone 76 268 +7
-- Upper Yellowstone 90 222 +12
-- Lower Yellowstone 52 305 -7
 State-Wide 103 243 +17

If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Brian Domonkos at .

See the following text document for detailed basin snowpack information:

Basin-Wide Snowpack Summary (TXT; 64 KB)

Domonkos said streamflow forecasts have changed little as a result of the increase in snowpack because snowpack is typically in the melt phase and weather during May and June can be highly variable. “In fact, most watersheds in the Jefferson and Madison River basins have already experienced their peak streamflow as a result of snowmelt. Other higher elevation watersheds such as the Gallatin and Upper Yellowstone are in the process of peaking at the beginning of June,” he said. For the most up-to-date streamflow information, visit Current Conditions for Montana: Streamflow on the Montana U.S. Geological Survey Web site.

Following are the averaged River Basin streamflow forecasts for the period June 1 through July 31. These forecasts assume near normal moisture and runoff conditions June through July.

Streamflow Forecasts
River Basin June to July this Year Percent of Average June to July Last Year Percent of Average
Columbia 99 188
-- Kootenai, Montana 121 168
-- Flathead, Montana 110 200
-- Upper Clark Fork 83 194
-- Bitterroot 88 162
-- Lower Clark Fork 93 183
Missouri 80 191
-- Jefferson 48 183
-- Madison 90 149
-- Gallatin 89 156
-- Missouri Mainstem 78 173
-- Smith-Judith-Musselshell 94 251
-- Sun-Teton-Marias 99 194
-- Milk 104 193
St. Mary 116 155
Yellowstone 85 200
-- Upper Yellowstone 96 170
-- Lower Yellowstone 74 231
Statewide 90 190

NOTE: The "June to July Last Year Percent of Average" column above is what was forecast last year, NOT what actually occurred.

See the following text document for detailed basin streamflow forecast information:

Provisional Water Supply Forecasts (TXT; 24 KB)

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