Snowpack is more than double the norm for May

LOGAN – There is still a lot of snow waiting to come off the mountains.

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), snowpack is still more than double the norm in many parts of the Bear River Basin. The snow pack at Trial Lake, which feeds the Bear River, is at 38.2 inches of snow water equivalent (SWE). The normal is 18.7 SWE.

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Troy Brosten, a snow survey supervisor with the NRCS, said this week’s cooler temperatures and storms are unlikely to add to the snowpack, but it will slow the melting. That is good news for those concerned with flooding.

“It will just keep the snowpack there a little longer,” he said. “Temperatures go cooler, there will be more clouds, and so there is less solar radiation affecting the snowpack and meltout.

“It is sort of a sweet spot there where we want it to come off on a nice steady rate, but not too fast.”

The high levels didn’t set a record for the basin, but they got close. According to Brosten, it is the second-biggest snowpack in the last 30 years.

“As of May 16 the Bear River basin is at 170 percent of normal,” he said. “If we look at 2011 for May 16, Bear River was 317 percent of normal. So 2011 was bigger for the Bear (River Basin) than 2017, but we still had a significant snowpack this year.”

Brosten thinks there could be snowpack in the Bear River Basin as late as July.

“Typically we would see a meltout right around the first week of June,” he said, “but odds are this year it will melt out at least two weeks later. We’re looking at the second or third week of June. Possibly the first week of July.”

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