Snowpack staying strong as temperatures heat up

Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 19:45:13-04

While it may be spring down in the Treasure Valley, up in the higher elevations it's still a winter wonderland. Near Mores Creek in the Boise National Forest, scientists are working to find out how much of the white stuff is left to melt. 

"It's still winter basically we saw the snowfall in the foothills Bogus Basin got like 9 inches just this past week and here it's a combination of snow settling but were still getting new snow we're adding to it," said Ron Abramovich a hydrologist with Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Using specialized tools they found the snowpack at Mores Creek to be 64 inches deep with 31 inches of water. The highest it's been for this time of year since 2006.

"I've definitely been watching it closely and it's an exciting year in terms of abundant water supply," said Liz Cresto a Hydrologist at the Idaho Department of Water Resources

During most years the April snowpack survey is the last of the season, but scientists say they'll be coming back once a month for as long as there is still snow on the ground.

"It all depends on the temperatures in May so if we warm up we start losing an inch of water a day it's going to take 30 days to get rid of it but we know that we are not going to melt that fast and then by late May or early June we'll be losing an inch and half or more. And so there is a lot of snow to melt this year," said Abramovich.

The snowmelt will eventually make it's way to the already flooded Boise River and also fill irrigation canals. Scientists hope it doesn't all come down at once, they would like to see a slow gradual melt.

"One or two days of record highs is not going to affect us but when it starts lasting for several days and we still have this much amount of snow in the high country, that's when we have to keep our eyes open to what's happening," said Abramovich.