Winter snowpack raises flooding concerns


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Deep winter snowpack is raising concerns of spring runoff and flooding.

Water monitors with the Natural Resource Conservation Service or NRCS report the Montana snowpack is more than 140 percent of the median.

March weather boosted the snowpack an average of 13 percent. It left snowpack ranging from 128 percent in the Madison River drainage to as much as 171 percent for the headwaters of the Missouri River main stream.

So far, just one area, the East Gallatin north of Bozeman, has seen a measurable increase in water. Right now it's just about a foot below flood stage.

We sat down with hydrologist Lucas Zukiewicz at the NRCS. He told us river conditions this spring will depend as much on weather as on the snowpack.

Zukiewicz said, "If we have a few warm days followed by some prolonged cooling like we're anticipated to see this weekend, that slows down snowmelt and it helps to have a more predictable runoff in our river system. However, if we have a lot of warm days that definitely tends to bring the snow melt faster and it's definitely going to have a big impact on the timing and the magnitude of when the water gets into the river systems."

More Stories