The National Weather Service is assuring valley residents that even though there wasn’t a great deal of snowfall this winter that mountain snow pack is in excellent shape.

Meteorologist LeeAnn Allegretto provides details.

“Every single basin in western Montana is at or slightly above normal as far as snow pack is concerned for this time of year,” said Allegretto. “Whether we get rain on top of that or additional snowfall is yet to be seen, but what we’re currently sitting at right now is looking pretty good.
Allegretto listed the nearby basins and their snow pack totals.

“The Flathead basin is currently sitting at 120 percent of normal,” she said. “The Upper Clark Fork is at 113 percent of normal, and the Bitterroot is 114 percent of normal. The only two that are closer to just 100 percent of normal are the Kootenai and the Lower Clark Fork, so right there along the Idaho panhandle border. Those mountains are still just barely over the 100 mark at 103 percent, but everything is above normal for this time of year.”

Allegretto explained why the mountains are well stocked with snow, while the valleys have remained so dry.

“I think a lot of the systems that come through hit the mountains and skip the valleys,” she said. There are a lot of wind driven, really strong upper-level flows promote mountain snowfall, so the mountains are getting it but those strong winds aloft are successfully shutting off the valley locations. While it’s churning up in the mountain locations, the valleys are missing out.”


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