Back in 2011, the Fort Peck snow water amount was 13 inches and Garrison’s content was 12 inches. When you look at those amounts and compare in percentages, the 2021 snow water content is 25% less at Fort Peck and 33% less at Garrison compared with 2011.
Another comparison to make is with the record amount of snow water for the date in another huge flood year, 1997. Both Fort Peck and Garrison had snowpack water content in early February 1997 of almost 18 inches. That total is far and away the highest snowpack water content volume in the U.S. Corps of Engineers records. (It needs to be noted that spring storms in 2011 led to the snowpack water content matching the 1997 volume.)
The upper Missouri basin does not look likely to add much to the snowpack water content in the next week, either. The upper Missouri’s location is mostly under the core of cold Arctic high pressure, with the stormier boundary of the bitter cold air most prone to bring snow to the Central and Southern Plains. The spring outlook does offer above-normal precipitation, suggesting some flood risk. At this point, however, conditions show very little resemblance to the flood buildup of 10 years ago.
Bryce Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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