USDA predicts above-average water supply for Northwest, below-average for Southwest

By on April 23, 2014
The Cascade Mountains, where spring storms swung snowpack levels from dry to average (Credit: puuikibeach, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Cascade Mountains, where spring storms swung snowpack levels from dry to average (Credit: puuikibeach, via Wikimedia Commons)

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast predicts above-average water supplies for much of the Northwest, but below-average supplies for the southwestern states, according to a release from agency.

Data gathered by the USDA’s National Water and Climate Center points to record-setting snowpack in the Northwest as the source of the water surplus. Snow telemetry sites in Montana, Wyoming and other western states have received up to triple the predicted amount of snow for the second month in a row. Most of the West’s streamflow derives from melted mountain snow.

The beginning of April traditionally marks the end of snow accumulation and the start of snowmelt, the release said. April forecasts are regarded as particularly important to water managers, irrigating farmers and hydroelectric power operators.

Image: The Cascade Mountains, where spring storms swung snowpack levels from dry to average (Credit: puuikibeach, via Wikimedia Commons)

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