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Snowpack in Southwest Montana above average

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BOZEMAN – With cooler than average temperatures and favorable snowfall so far this winter, most of southwest and south-central Montana are above average in terms of precipitation and snowpack, according to a Montana Water Supply Outlook Report, put out by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The water year as measured by the NRCS starts Oct. 1. As of Jan. 21, snow levels for the 2014 year in the Crazy, Bridger, Castle, Belt and Big Snowy Mountains were the highest in the state, ranging from 132 percent of average in the Crazies, to 138 percent of average in the Belts, according to NRCS data.

The Yellowstone River Basin was at 121 percent of its normal snowpack and 115 percent of last year, while the Gallatin River Basin was at 119 percent of normal and 103 percent of 2013.

Statewide, many watersheds had seen below average precipitation as of Jan. 1, but the wettest months are yet to come during May, June and July, according to the report, and these months may provide enough precipitation to make up the deficit.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides mountain snowpack data and streamflow forecasts for the western United States.

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