Western Montana Sees Average Levels Of Snowpack - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Western Montana Sees Average Levels Of Snowpack

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MISSOULA -

Portions of eleven western states, not including Montana, are declared drought disaster areas. In its first forecast of the year, data from the USDA shows low levels of snowpack are leading to a water shortage on the western side of the nation.

National snowpack levels are showing dry conditions for the western states, but meteorologists with the National Weather Service say here in Western Montana, we're right on track.

"A lot of areas were slightly below normal before our last storm, and that helped bump up our snow pack levels," said National Weather Service meteorologist Luke Robinson.

He said right now, the mountains of Western Montana have average to above average levels of snowpack, but our valley's are quite a bit drier.

"For the next few weeks we're going to be fairly dry, but don't let that fool you. Things could change, and for the next few weeks we're expecting normal values," Robinson said.

Other areas aren't as lucky right now. Portions of eleven other western states, including Central Idaho, Southern California, and parts of Colorado are seeing dry conditions for this time of year. Robinson said these conditions could lead to a shortage of water supply for western ranchers and farmers, and a dangerous wildfire season. He said it's just too early to tell how things will look by the time summer rolls around.

"Right now, if we were below normal, we still have plenty of time to catch up. We usually continue to build snowpack into the April month," Robinson said.

Robinson said until the spring, meteorologist really won't be able to tell how dry Montana's 2014 summer will shape up.

The USDA monitors snowpack to help ranchers and farmers prepare for the spring. To find out more on how the USDA helps landowners prepare for the drought go to the USDA website.

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