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Snowpack nears average statewide

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BOZEMAN – The month of February dealt above average snow for the second consecutive month, while increasing snowpack in all major basins, according to snowpack data from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

February brought improvements to the snowpack in Southwest Montana, which saw below average January snowfall.

“Significant improvements were made, particularly in the Bridger Mountain Range, where snowpack nearly doubled over the course of the month affecting totals in the Gallatin and Shields River Basins,” said Brian Domonkos, NRCS water supply specialist. The Lower Clark Fork River Basin was the only watershed to experience below average February snowfall.

Both the Missouri Headwaters and the Milk River Basins are considerably below average this year.

The Lower Yellowstone is well above average and even above last year, by as much as 25 percent, in the Tongue River Basin. As was the case in 2011, March and April can present above average snowfall and could add to snowpack totals in below average areas, while increasing snowpack in the Lower Yellowstone as well, according to the NRCS.

“Conditions are quite variable this year across our area, and still warrant a watchful eye over the coming months, whether above or below average,” Domonkos said.

Typically on March 1 nearly 80 percent of the average seasonal snowpack has accumulated, meaning one fifth of the snowfall season remains.

Megan Paulson is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Outlaw Partners.

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