More Snow is Expected in Western Montana Before Spring Arrives
Despite the lack of significant snowfall this winter in western Montana valleys, the National Weather Service told KGVO News on Wednesday that area mountain snowpack is at or above 100 percent.
Meteorologist Dan Zumpf provided the snowpack stats.
“It looks like in the mountains around Missoula we’re mostly in the 90 to 100 percent range and that's including the upper Clark Fork at 90 percent and the Bitterroot Mountains at 93 percent, the lower Clark Fork at 96 percent and the Flathead at 105 percent,” began Zumpf. "So, overall it’s pretty normal for this time of year.”
Zumpf said there will be traditionally more snow before summer eventually arrives.
“For mountain snowpack, which is what we're talking about here, that actually peaks around the second week in April,” he said. “So we still have time to put more water in the snowpack or put some more snow on top of the ground. However, we are in the waning days of the snow season, but there are still quite a few snow events we're anticipating over the next two to three weeks. So these numbers could change a bit and will probably go higher.”
Zumpf described how low level flooding could possibly occur this spring.
“As we've seen here over the last several years that if we get those spikes in temperature for too long and along with windy conditions could cause a melt off from the mid elevation snowpack quickly and then we could get flooding down on Tower Street in Missoula,” he said. “That's something we certainly hope we won't see. But it's very tough to tell if that's going to be a concern or not at this time.”
Zumpf said, since spring officially begins on March 21, Missoula’s winter has been ‘near normal’ so far.
“A lot of people have said that they've been a bit disappointed with the snow season this year,” he said. "It's just been a little different than then a lot of La Nina winters, but it's still living up to at least near normal conditions that we would expect for La Nina.”
With some light snow showers today, Missoula is expecting only a slight chance of rain for the rest of the week.