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Checking in on the mountain snowpack

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

We have seen dire warnings from many activists and some politicians across the region regarding climate change and the future of our snowpack.

The National Resources Defense Council, for example, warned in 2015 that the west's snowpack is "vanishing." In our region, they specifically pointed to Washington state.

Indeed, in Washington state in 2015, snowpack levels were low. But they rebounded dramatically in the following years. Last year, Idaho's snowpack levels were healthy in the panhandle, but down in the south.

The USDA has a useful online resource that allows you to track the snowpack by basin. The darker the blue, the better. Right now, eastern Wyoming is the only region of concern.

As weather patterns change, snowpack levels can rise and fall dramatically. During an ElNino year, for example, storm systems may move further south. During LaNina, the mountain states tend to see more wet weather.

As the winter rolls on, our region needs enough snowpack to ensure a limited fire season and a resource to agriculture. Let's hope most of these numbers stay the same or even increase.

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