U.S. Water News Online
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- Winter storms dumped a foot and a
half of snow in eastern Idaho between Christmas Eve and New Year's
Day, bringing welcome news for Idaho water users.
The snow had a generous water content of 1.47 inches, much of it
from the New Year's Day storm, said Rick Winther, meteorologist for
the National Weather Service in Pocatello.
The jet stream is aimed squarely at eastern Idaho, indicating more
precipitation is likely, Winther said.
For the past three years, flows in the upper Snake River at Heise
have been at their lowest levels since measurements began in 1911.
This winter, however, snowpack in eastern Idaho has been reported
at 16 percent above normal and even higher in Island Park.
This is the first in several years that snowpack numbers have been
above normal across the state. Although the snow that came to higher
elevations in December was lacking in moisture, it settled quickly
under warmer temperatures.
Mountain snow depths by April will determine summer water levels.
For each of the past two years about five million acre feet of
water was pumped out of Idaho's groundwater, said Ron Carlson,
watermaster for the Idaho Department of Water Resources.
Heavy winter snows help recharge those aquifers, he said.
An average snowfall would ordinarily refill Idaho's reservoirs,
but dry soil can absorb much of that water.
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