Friday, December 17, 2010

Montana SNOTEL Data Update - "It's a good thing"

Water is and will always be an issue in western Montana. There were worries in the fishing community that last year's relatively low snowpack would result in some seasonal closures due to low flows and high temperatures. Alas, we were saved by some spring and early summer rains that resulted in a 1.3 Recurrence Interval (RI) peak discharge of 9,980 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is below average, at the Clark Fork River above Missoula gage. While the peak discharge was below average there were multiple peaks and the higher flows were prolonged. As such, there were no fishing closures in western Montana last year. Such worries were not present during the two previous water years (2008 and 2009) when the recurrence interval of the peak discharge during spring runoff was a 2.8 with a discharge of 17,500 cfs. I have been lucky enough to have not been effected by any fishing closures during my short fly fishing career. This year, as those of you who live in western Montana know, we have had our fair share of snow and has resulted in healthy snowpack levels throughout the state. While there is plenty of time until the spring runoff of 2011 and there are other factors influencing the scale of runoff (namely timing and mechanisms that initiate it), it feels good to look at the numbers below and have a little confidence that this year's runoff will do good geomorphic and ecologic work. It is nice to see numbers above 100% and no where close to the 50%, 60%, and 70% seen last spring. Enjoy the recently updated SNOTEL data below. I am.



Snow Water Equivalent YTD Precip
Basin Site Name Percent of Average Percent of Average
KOOTENAI RIVER 113 106
FLATHEAD RIVER 129 119
UPPER CFR 114 107
BITTERROOT RIVER 98 109
LOWER CFR 107 105
JEFFERSON RIVER 116 118
MADISON RIVER 119 121
GALLATIN RIVER 129 128
MISSOURI HEADWATERS 121 123
HW MISSOURI MAINSTEM 112 99
SMITH, JUDITH, MUSSELSHELL 132 120
SUN, TETON, MARIAS 100 83
MISSOURI MAINSTEM 118 101
ST. MARY and MILK 109 103
UPPER YELLOWSTONE 129 124
WIND RIVER (WY) 118 110
SHOSHONE RIVER (WY) 111 117
BIGHORN RIVER (WY) 106 104
TONGUE RIVER (WY) 83 85
POWDER RIVER (WY) 102 85
LOWER YELLOWSTONE 107 103


3 comments:

Bigerrfish said...

Hey Im running the New Fuji... shock (drop), water, freeze, and dust proof..
Trying to keep it on the d-l because I got one for a friend for x'mas who reads the blog.

Ivan said...

nice. great pictures and look forward to some more. i like a good guessing game and figured I would throw some guesses in the mix. merry christmas.

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