Mountain snowpack staying mostly strong
Yellowstone basin snowpack remains strong, despite warmer than normal temperatures and less snow.
As of Wednesday, Feb.18, snowpack statewide is at or above average in 14 of the 21 basins monitored by the Nature Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). A little more than one month ago, 19 basins were above average. Overall, three basins currently sit in the 90 percentile, three are in the 80 percentile and one is in the 60 percentile, according to the NRCS.
The Upper and Lower Yellowstone River Basins remain strong at 110 percent and 105 percent respectively, according to the NRCS.
Some of the basins are as follows:
•Upper Yellowstone Basin: 110 percent of normal (115% two weeks ago)
•Lower Yellowstone Basin: 105 percent (103%)
•Jefferson River Basin: 101 percent (105%)
•Madison River Basin: 84 percent (85%)
•Gallatin River Basin: 103 percent (105%)
•Missouri Headwaters: 98 percent (102%)
Much like January, the weather this month has been mild. In Columbus, the average daily high temperature of 51.5 degrees is nearly 10 degrees warmer than normal, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The average daily reading of 28 degrees is 11 degrees higher than normal. And the 2.8 inches of snowfall thus far lags behind the normal amount of 4.1 inches, according to the NWS.
At Mystic Lake, the average daily high of 43.6 degrees is 7.3 degrees above normal while the daily average reading of 37.4 degrees is up 10 degrees from normal. Mystic Lake has also gotten 15 inches of snowfall, which is above the monthly February average of 10.5 inches.
And in Rapelje, the daily average high of 50.6 degrees is more than 10 degrees above normal. The daily average reading of 38.4 degrees is exactly 10 degrees above normal as well. The 2.4 inches of snowfall thus far is under the normal monthly total of 3.8 inches.
Friday is forecast to bring a 40 percent chance of rain or snow with highs in the upper 40s and a low of 25. Saturday’s high drops to 31 degrees with a 50 percent chance of snow and a low of 12 degrees. And Sunday’s high is expected to top-out at just 30 degrees with a 20 percent chance of snow.