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Mountain West Snowpack Looking Good At Halfway Point

Snowfall as of January 15.
Snowfall as of January 15.

It was a dry start to the year for some mountain ranges in the region, but recent storms brought most Mountain West snowpack levels back to normal.

 Click 'play' to hear the audio version of this story.

Aside from a few patches, most of the Mountain West now is at or above 100% median snowpack. In other words: We’re right on track.

The region is about halfway through snowpack season, according to Brian Domonkos, a Colorado Snow Survey supervisor with the state’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“There is still a lot of year, a lot of the accumulation season, and things can change,” he cautioned.

Domonkos said we need to keep an eye on the snowpack because it can affect the region’s ecology and wildlife, like fish. Healthy levels also decrease the chance of seasonal wildfires when paired with some summer precipitation and limited heat.

And yes, he said having a lot of snow this time of year is also good for skiing and snowboarding.

“Storms are usually pretty cold in most locations, can come in pretty dry, and it gives you a lot of that powder, or even ‘cold smoke’ as they call it in some locations, to ski,” he said.

The Climate Prediction Center forecasts that our region will continue getting normal or slightly above-normal amounts of precipitation over the next few weeks.Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter @MadelynBeck8

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News

Madelyn Beck is a regional Illinois reporter, based in Galesburg. On top of her work for Harvest Public Media, she also contributes to WVIK, Tri-States Public Radio and the Illinois Newsroom collaborative.
Madelyn Beck
Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. She's from Montana but has reported everywhere from North Dakota to Alaska to Washington, D.C. Her last few positions included covering energy resources in Wyoming and reporting on agriculture/rural life issues in Illinois.
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