Despite Mild Winter, Montana’s Snowpack Near Average in Many Basins

Montana’s snowpack is closer to average than our mild winter might suggest, as residents across the state grew accustomed to snow-less sidewalks in December and celebrated a decidedly not-white Christmas.

The close-to-normal snowpack is largely thanks to autumn snowfall, when storms provided a base in the mountains before the tap ran dry for a prolonged period in many areas.

The early snowfall particularly favored regions along the Continental Divide in western and south-central Montana, where the highest snowpack percentages are found, according to a water-supply outlook by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Some of those basins were at normal or slightly above normal when the report was published on Jan. 1.