Snow And Rain Brings Some Early Relief To Idaho Drought

Nov 24, 2015

Water experts from around Idaho gathered in Boise earlier this month to brief one another on 2016 forecasts. A slide during a presentation by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) water supply specialist Ron Abramovich solidified a recurring theme: "think snow."

According to this week's forecast, southern Idaho will be not just thinking snow — but experiencing it.

Credit Natural Resources Conservation Service, Idaho

So how do things look so far when it comes to that precious precipitation?

According to NRCS hydrologist Ivan Geroy, it's too early to tell how 2016 will go. But so far, spots like the Owyhee and Bruneau basins have received above-average precipitation in a mix of rain and snow.

That's likely giving some drought-striken farmers in the southwest corner of the state reason to hope. 

Geroy says this early in the water year — which started Oct. 1 — it doesn't take much to put the precipitation monitors way over, and just a couple weeks of dry weather could swing things the other direction. He says the map to the left (click to enlarge) will be more useful in a few months. 

Speaking of the drought: this map shows the drought as it recedes a bit around the state. But according to University of Idaho climate scientist John Abatzoglou, this year's El Nino will likely bring continued hot and dry conditions to the state, especially in the Panhandle and Clearwater.

Credit United States Drought Monitor

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