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Water Supply Outlook Report Gives Rosy Outlook For Summer Recreation

Natural Resources Conservation Service hydrologists say there is still enough snow in the higher elevations of the Upper Snake basin to produce another increase in river flows. But the agency’s latest water supply outlook reveals that it is unlikely those future peak flows would be higher than the region recorded in April. Record high temperatures or intense rainfall over several days could change that forecast.

April precipitation varied widely across the state. It was measured at 75 to 95 percent of average in the Bear, Upper Snake, Mud Lake, Big Lost and Little Wood basins, but 110 to 150 percent of average in the Henry’s Fork drainage. Precipitation was average in the Big Wood, Salmon, Willow, Blackfoot, and Portneuf basins.

Nearly all of Idaho’s major reservoirs were storing average or better water levels as of May 1. Combined storage for Jackson Lake and Palisades reservoirs is 79 percent full.

April streamflow volumes were 150 to 279 percent of average over most of the state. Only basins south of the Snake River, which ran out of snow mid-month, and high elevations areas, such as the Teton River where snowmelt was slower to start, saw below-normal volumes for the month.

The report suggests summer recreation will be excellent due to average or better peak snowpacks for most of the state this year.

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