Snow survey experts say depending on what part of the state you’re in, water content in the current snowpack is either near normal or looking bleak.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Idaho is reporting that SNOTEL water equivalent as of mid-March was 92% of normal for the Henrys Fork and Teton river basins and 94% of normal for the Snake Basin above Palisades.
Areas looking much dryer include the Big Lost basin, and Medicine Lodge, Beaver and Camas basins. These two regions are at 63% and 66% of normal respectively.
“We haven’t gotten any precipitation in the month of March thus far, so our percents of normal are down,” said Corey Loveland, snow survey supervisor at the National Water and Climate Center. “February was pretty decent because we had those couple of snowstorms.”
The Little Wood basin in central Idaho is sitting at the lowest percentage of the normal level in the state at 61%.
“They’ve been dry all winter,” Loveland said.
The Willow, Blackfoot and Portneuf basins area and the Bear River basin area east and southeast of Pocatello are in the low 80 percent range for snowpack water content for this time of year. A good February helped bring the Bear River area up from the 60% range.
Loveland said a big storm could snap some areas back to normal but “the outlook isn’t looking too bright as far as storms, at least in the next week or so.”
Loveland said the highpoint for water content across the state is usually about April 15.
“That gives us less than a month for something to happen,” he said.
On the bright side, Loveland said reservoir storage is looking “decent” but there’s a caveat.
“The Bureau of Reclamation ceased aquifer recharge this week,” he said on Friday. “That means they don’t have excess water. Right now, they are storing as much water as they can to fill the reservoirs.”
To see a current snow water equivalent percent of normal map online, go to nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/id/snow/products/?cid=nrcseprd1491224