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Environment

Snowmelt Begins In Upper Missouri River Basin

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Officials monitoring the Missouri River Basin say snowmelt is starting in the Northern Rockies, but major flooding this year is not expected. Drought conditions are also anticipated to decrease through the end of July. 

Kevin Low is a hydrologist with the national weather service. He says mountain snowpack peaked in early April, about two weeks earlier than normal.

“We are just now beginning to see snowpack melt in the upper elevations- higher elevations of the Northern Rockies,” said Low. “All indications continue to suggest that we expect no flooding from mountain snowpack alone in the Yellowstone and upper Missouri basins. And when I saw upper Missouri I mean above Fort Peck.”

The snow built up in the mountains of Montana and Wyoming provides much of water in the Missouri River each summer.  Officials say slightly below normal run off is expected, although reservoirs are well positioned to adjust based on rainfall.

Officials add that the amount of water in the Missouri River also depend on summer temperatures and precipitation. Weather officials predict higher than normal temperatures this summer with equal chances of above or below rainfall.