Mammoth mountain snowpack

The record-setting snowfall has put the Upper Yellowstone River Basin at 166 percent of normal while the Lower Yellowstone River Basin is 126 percent of normal, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The Missouri, Upper Clark Fork and Sun/Teton, Marias basins are all currently more than 150 percent of normal.

The Gallatin, Jefferson, Bitteroot, St. Mary, Milk and Smith/Judith/Musselshell river basins are all between 130 percent and 149 percent of normal. The Madison, Lower Clark Fork and Kootenai basins are between 110 percent and 129 percent of normal.

Those conditions have weather experts looking at erosion and possible flooding issues when the snowpack comes out of the mountains — depending on what kind of weather spring brings.

A normal spring that brings days in the upper 40s and lower 50s, with the temperature falling during the night, will help the snow pack come down more gradually, NWS Meteorologist Tom Frieders told the local Local Emergency Planning Committee in Columbus early Wednesday morning.

A spring with early and above normal temperatures could bring the snow down much more quickly, which would present possible problems, said Frieders.

In a nutshell, high snow-pack and a dry spring equals extended high flows and siginifcant bank erosion, but limited floodling.

High snow pack and a wet spring equals increased risk of flooding.

Frieders also noted that winter is not yet over so more snow will be added to that snowpack.