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North Idaho Snowpack Continues Above Average

Natural Resources Conservation Service in Idaho

Wet weather over the next few days will add to Northern Idaho’s already abundant water supply.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service released its new forecast Thursday. The agency says the Panhandle has some of the state’s highest snowpack levels. The mountains in Kootenai, Shoshone and Benewah Counties range from about 115-to-120% of normal. Those figures are a bit higher in Bonner and Boundary Counties.

Water supply specialist Ron Abramovich says a new set of storms over the next several days will add to those totals.

“Some of these storms are going to be pretty intense with the amount of moisture that they are bringing in," Abramovich said. "So what we’re going to see is a rapid rise in stream flow in some of the areas coming this weekend. And then we’ll see, once we get into April and May, if it cools off again or warms back up and how fast the rest of the snow comes out of the mountains.”

Abramovich says last year’s wetter-than-usual water year in some parts of Idaho is still having some effect as we head into spring.

“The base flows, the streamflows, have been above average most of the winter, so it’s not going to take much water to prime the soils now when the snow melts, so we’re going to get more runoff from the snowpack and the rain because everything was primed from last year’s abundant snow,” he said.
Abramovich warns some areas could see flooding with the rain this weekend.