Latest Snow/Water Equivalent Map Reflects Dry Conditions in Treasure Valley, Central Idaho 

When Boise Weekly visited the local office of the National Weather Service in early December, Warning Control Meteorologist and 25-year NWS veteran Jay Breidenbach pointed to a huge mass of warm water just beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean near the equator.

"That indicates the likelihood of an El Nino winter," Breidenach told BW. "That means warmer, drier weather [in] December, January and into March. Make no mistake, we'll have snow. But it's looking like El Nino again for this year."

click to enlarge USDA
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Indeed, the region's snowpack is low. Between Christmas and New Year's Day, a USDA team trekked to Mores Creek Summit and measured 36 inches of snowpack. Snowpack is usually 48 inches on Jan. 1. Hydrologists said the latest measurement was the fifth-lowest Jan. 1 snowpack since 1961.

Meanwhile, USDA has published its latest so-called SNOTEL map of Idaho, indicating the current snow/water levels across the Gem State. In the Boise region, the latest snow/water equivalent measurement indicates that we are only at 70 percent of normal readings. The readings are more critical in the Sun Valley area, where the Little Wood region is currently at 55 percent of normal and the Big Wood region is at 68 percent of normal.

The Idaho Water Supply Committee is scheduled to meet Friday, Jan. 11, in Boise to get a full briefing on the current snowpack and water supply. 

As for any immediate prospects of precipitation, the NWS forecast for the Boise Basin is calling for dry conditions and above-normal temperatures through the weekend.

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