The Inland Northwest held onto most of its high-elevation snow pack last month, but warmer temperatures could lead to an early melt off.
The Spokane River watershed’s snow pack was at 84 percent of normal Monday, down slightly from early February. Drier conditions in the central Idaho Panhandle mountains this year resulted in less snow accumulation.
February’s warmer-than-normal temperatures also started the melting of mid-elevation snow pack in the Panhandle, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Higher elevation snow packs aren’t melting yet, but the warmer temperatures allowed that snow to “ripen up,” snow surveyors said.
Snow pack densities are in the 36 to 38 percent range, which is high for early March. Snow usually starts to melt when densities reach 40 to 45 percent, NRCS officials said.
Elsewhere in the region, snow pack in the Pend Oreille River watershed is 93 percent of normal; the Okanogan is at 128 percent of normal and the Methow is at 135 percent of normal.
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