Posted: Jun 8, 2012 12:28 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center
Updated: Jun 8, 2012 12:37 PM
BOZEMAN- The snow kept falling in May, helping to boost snowpack levels by 17% across Montana according to the latest survey from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
An analysis of the June 1st snow survey numbers also show that in some parts of the state the snowpack levels jumped 32%.
"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 Brian Domonkos, 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."
The latest stats show that overall about 30% of this year's snowpack remains thanks to a late May snowstorm and some areas will still see streams running high until later this month.
"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."
With the exception of the Bitterroot River basin and the Lower Clark Fork basin, all of western Montana saw May jumps in snowpack levels. The Upper Clark Fork was up 32%, the Kootenai saw a 21% jump and the Flathead and Upper Clark Fork basins rose 16%.