Mountain water content in the snowpack jumps sharply

Posted at 1:33 PM, Mar 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-27 16:15:06-04

BOZEMAN – The significant snowstorm this past weekend has boosted our mountain snow water content sharply especially east of the divide.

The percent of average water content in river basins east of the divide in SW Montana is now up between 110% to almost 130% of average. The Upper Clark Fork between Butte and Missoula is now up to normal or 100%.


We typically see our seasonal peak from late March through mid-April and the forecast is continuing to call for cooler than normal temperatures and several more chances for snow through next week. This pattern should lock that mountain snowpack in place for several more weeks and possibly add a few more percentage points by the middle of April.

The other concern is the valley snowpack. Several feet of snow currently covers the ground around Bozeman, Belgrade and Livingston. We are hoping for a gradual melting of this valley snowpack but this time of the year a rapid warm up will lead to significant overland flooding potential. Right now the forecast is holding temperatures below normal through the end of the first week of April but after that we will be monitoring forecast models for a sudden warm up.