Snowpack in upper Missouri River Basin near average
Thanks to recent snowstorms, mountain snowpack in the upper Missouri River Basin is accumulating at near average rates.
The March 1 mountain snowpack in the Fort Peck reach was 104% of average, while the mountain snowpack in the Fort Peck to Garrison reach was 101% of average, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. By March 1, about 80% of the total mountain snowfall has typically accumulated. Mountain snow normally peaks near April 17.
Montana’s heaviest snowpack accumulated so far, compared to normal, has been in the Smith, Judith and Musselshell rivers’ headwaters where there is 118% of normal. That region is followed by the Madison and Gallatin basins with 116% and 110% of normal, respectively.
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The Bitterroot and Kootenai river drainages have the lowest snowpacks compared to average at 83%.
Given the current amount of snow in the mountains, the Corps is predicting spring runoff into Fort Peck and other Missouri River reservoirs above Sioux City, Iowa, at 21.5 million acre feet, 84% of average. February runoff in the basin was 1.0 MAF, 86% of average.
“Despite some improvement in basin conditions, we expect 2023 runoff to remain