Water report for Montana

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Water report for Montana

After an early-season storm dropped snow in Montana’s high country at the end of September, the new water year was off to a strong start.

Wet and cold weather patterns in October boosted snowpack and precipitation totals in many basins east of the divide by early November, with some mountain snowpack telemetry sites reporting the first or second most snow water equivalent contained within the snowpack for that date, said the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“While we got off to a great start early in the year, the major change in weather patterns during November weren’t kind to the western half of the state with regards to precipitation or snowfall. While the eastern half of the state received above normal precipitation, the mountains were largely left high and dry,” said Lucas Zukiewicz water supply specialist.

Water year precipitation totals, which began on October 1, reflect the lack of November and early December precipitation. Water year deficits are the largest west of the Divide, where water year totals range from 66 to 84 percent of average. East of the Divide, totals are slightly better with water year precipitation ranging from 71 to 100 percent of normal.