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.
“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.”
In general, 30 percent of this year’s snowpack remains due to a late May snowstorm. SNOTEL 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.”