ONTARIO — While January ended with snowpack below the median or average amount for the date, the good news is that snowfall has picked up since then providing a more positive outlook for February and beyond.
According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service report for Feb. 1, watersheds south of the Snake River — which includes the Owyhee River basin — began the month with snowpacks at nearly 90 percent of normal. But, storms that have come through since then have boosted snowpack numbers by 10 to 20 percent, elevating totals to and above average for the year, the report reads. In addition, weather forecasts have the wet pattern continuing into the middle of the month.
As of Feb. 5, and based on SNOTEL data only, Idaho’s snowpack now ranges from 83 percent of north in northern Idaho to 108 percent in the Weiser, Bruneau (basins) and Eastern Idaho.
Not able to fly over the Owyhee Watershed as of yet, Jay Chamberlin, manager of the Owyhee Irrigation District, said he is positive about the water outlook for this year’s irrigation season, based on the readings from the SNOTEL sites, which are automated to provide weather and precipitation information for the areas around them.
“It looks good,” he said, of the snowpack. “It is going to treat us well.”
He noted this about the snow storm which hit the Boise area on Monday and come up through the Owyhee watershed.
Also, “It’s good water content,” Chamberlin said, instead of a dry snow.
He echoed the NRCS forecast for warmer and drier weather for March and April and getting more snow across the watersheds now is ideal.