Published online: Dec 14, 2012 Irrigation
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Ron Abramovich describes the current Idaho snowpack as the strangest he's ever seen. Above 7,000 feet in certain parts of the state, snowpack levels are near record highs. Below that elevation, however, unseasonably warm weather has left slopes virtually bare.

Unusual as the start to the water year that began in October has been, Abramovich, water supply specialist with the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service, said it bodes well for agriculture. He explained moisture that's fallen as rain has saturated soils so spring snowmelt won't be absorbed.

Ocean conditions appear neutral, whereas the conditions known as La Niña tend to result in greater precipitation in the
Pacific Northwest. By contrast, El Niño conditions often mean a dry winter in the region.

In the
Idaho panhandle, snowpack for the water year is 126 percent of normal, and total precipitation is 153 percent of normal, Abramovich said. Two measuring sites in the region, Bear Mountain and Hidden Lake, have received 35 inches of moisture since Oct. 1, near a record high.

SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press