Record snowfall boosts snowpack levels

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Officials say February’s record-breaking snowfall helped relieve snowpack deficits across much of Montana and improve the water supply outlook.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service says the statewide snow-water equivalent now averages 114 percent of normal east of the Continental Divide and 101 percent west of the divide.
That’s a big improvement from the beginning of February, when milder temperatures had resulted in below-normal snowpack levels.
Parts of northwestern Montana that didn’t receive as much snow last month are still between 80 and 90 percent of normal.
The snow that accumulates in the mountains over the winter is a vital water source for the river basins below, and can influence the effects of drought and wildfires later in the year.
The mountain snowpack usually peaks in April before the spring runoff begins.