Drought? What drought? Columbia Basin exceeds 30-year average

Parts of Idaho are parched, but Northwest's overall snowpack is good

Boise - The Idaho StatesmanApril 11, 2014 

March storms pushed the Northwest's water supplies to 104 percent of the average between 1981 and 2010, according to a release from the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Bulletin.


The recent storms built a snowpack that will feed the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries this spring and summer, said Joanne Salerno, a senior hydrologist for the Northwest River Forecast Center.


Precipitation was at or above 150 percent across much of the Columbia Basin in March, even soaking areas in Southwest Idaho and Southern Oregon that still are considered in severe drought following a dry 2012-13 season and meager start to the current "water year," which runs October through September.


Snow pack is critical to everyone from fishermen to farmers to firefighters. Snowmelt keeps rivers cool and flowing, irrigation canals filled, and forage green for fire resistance and wildlife food. 


The March storms followed wet weather that February improved what had been a relatively dry early winter.

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