May 3, 2016
- Snowpack in County & State has Changed Drastically
- Deep Creek Stream Flows are Down
- NEW UPDATE: Average and Maximum Rainfall
SnoTel data from Boulder Mountain and Tizer Basin sites may come off misleading in recent reports, especially the snowpack data from Boulder Mountain. Throughout the winter, Boulder Mountain has had normal snowpack tendencies, often hitting the above normal range.
From January through March, both stations have shown no major threats to water supply in the county, predicting normal water supply for the upcoming summer. But this is NOT THE CASE.
As the weather has been getting warmer the past month, snow water equivalent numbers are dropping fast below the average throughout the county, especially visible with the Boulder Mountain Station (See graph above).
The Elkhorn Range has lost 26 inches of snow depth since April 1st, and currently has no snow left in the mountains. And this is not just happening in Broadwater County. Other counties throughout the state are showing the same sorts of trends.
The USDA just released an article claiming that this past April has had devastating effects on the snowpack in the state (Click Here for USDA Article).
As for Deep Creek stream flow on May 3, 2016, the creek is far below the four year average taken on May 3 in the past few years. The difference from the past 2 years alone is quite alarming.
The amount of discharge flowing through the creek is venturing close to 60 cfs less in 2016. As for the average, we are about 30-40 cfs below our May 3 average.
This could be due to the fact that we saw our peak flows much earlier than in past years. In reference to the USDA article “The water supply forecast for Broadwater County area has gone down by 30% in just the past month.”
Broadwater Conservation District’s newest information in the drought resiliency index reports include average countywide precipitation and average Townsend Temperature.
The district has installed 10 rain gauges throughout the county since April, and we plan to install a couple more to reach all corners of the county.
According to the rain gauges installed, since April 3, 2016 the countywide average rainfall was 0.45 inches. The maximum rainfall was recorded in the Northwest end of the county (Winston area) at 0.67 inches on April 15th.
The table below summarizes the regional average rainfall for the month of April in Broadwater County (According to the Broadwater Conservation District rain gauges).
For more information on snowpack, stream flow, rainfall, temperature, and drought resiliency information contact Katie Mumford, BIG SKY WATERSHED CORPS MEMBER, at the Broadwater Conservation District in Townsend.
Katie.Mumford@mt.usda.gov or 406-266-3146 x102