Good ski season melts into good spring river flows

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It was a record breaking year for Lookout Pass Ski area, according to President and CEO, Phil Edholm. They set an all-time skier visit record of approximately 68,700. The old record was 65,600 set during the 2013-2014 ski season and last winter they received 59,700 skiers. The ski area also received 422 inches of snow fall to-date.

Much of the low-elevation snow has melted away in North Idaho and Western Montana, but the high mountain snowpack is still hanging on. According to a report from National Weather Service Hydrologist, Ray Nickless, this helps reduce the chance of serious flooding later the spring because the stored moisture gets released in stages. Unless there’s a sudden, warm-rain weather system turning the runoff into a catastrophic surge, the spring should see steady but high, river flows.

Currently, there are no reports of flooding with the St. Regis River running at 4.96 feet as of April 17, where flood stage is eight feet. The Clark Fork River near St. Regis is at 9.5 feet, with flood stage at 19 feet.

Across most of the eastern United State, the April forecast calls for above-average temperatures, with western Montana and norther Idaho looking to be right on target for normal spring temperatures.

Looking further out, May through July has almost all the nation in above-normal temperatures, except Montana, North and South Dakota and part of Wyoming. There are also predictions of above-normal precipitation in these areas.

“We should be having good flows in rivers, filling up reservoirs and plenty of water to go around,” said Nickless.

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