Snowpack buries Montana

There's good news in all that white stuff covering the state: Montana has abundant snowpack.

It's still only March, and as we saw last year, conditions can change dramatically by summer, but for now it looks like there should be plenty of water for river users, trout and farmers in 2018.

The Upper Yellowstone watershed leads the way, sitting at 164 percent of average snowpack on March 9. Also above 150 percent of average are the upper Clarks Fork at 156, and the Sun-Teton-Maria drainage at 155.

The Flathead River, which drains into the Clarks Fork near Paradise, Montana, of course, is at 141 percent. All that snow has led flood warnings when temperatures rise. Smart investors in the western part of the state are already stocking up on sandbag futures.

The spring months generally provide the heaviest precipitation of the year in Montana, but that wasn't the case in 2017. Following a wet winter, Montana's spring was especially dry, and the the summer turned the state into a fire-scorched inferno.

If the state gets average spring precip, all that snow should keep rivers full, and habitat conditions healthy for trout.

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