Western water supply forecast tracks melting snowpack

May 20, 2014

WASHINGTON — Below normal streamflows are forecast for parts of Oregon, Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

WASHINGTON — April storms delivered a mix of rain and snow to the northern half of the West but didn’t provide much relief for the dry southern half, reported data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) May 2014 water supply forecast, according to a press release.

Washington, most of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the northern parts of Colorado and Utah, are expected to have near normal or above normal water supplies, according to forecasts from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s National Water and Climate Center (NWCC), the release reported.

Streamflows that are far below normal are forecast for the southern parts of Oregon and Utah, southwestern Idaho, California, Arizona, New Mexico and western Nevada, noted the release.

Many of these areas are in the nearly 500 counties experiencing drought across the country, continued the release, 57 of them in California alone, according to USDA disaster designations.

According to the release, snowpack generally peaks in early April and then begins to melt, and forecasters will continue to monitor conditions in preparation for the June 1 outlook, said NWCC hydrologist Cara McCarthy.

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