geese on ice

Canada geese -- and a mallard duck -- hang out in the icy Okanogan River.

OKANOGAN - February came on strong with cold and snowy conditions statewide, adding some to the snow pack in the state’s mountains.

Despite all that snow in the lowlands, most SNOTEL snow monitoring stations were below the 50 percentile mark for the month, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service’s March 1 Washington Water Supply Outlook. Statewide, SNOTEL readings were 90 percent of normal for the water year.

During February, the upper Columbia River basin had 79 percent of the long-term median snow pack.

March 1 snow cover for the Okanogan Basin was 85 percent of normal, according to the report. Other area basins’ snow cover percentages included Omak Creek, 77 percent; Methow River, 82 percent; San Poil River, 138 percent; Similkameen River, 72 percent, and Conconully Lake, 74 percent.

February precipitation in the upper Columbia Basin was 54 percent of average, with precipitation for the water year at 71 percent of average.

Stream flows are forecast for below-normal spring and summer runoff, according to the report.

February stream flows, by basin, included Methow, 76 percent of average; Okanogan, 85 percent, and Similkameen, 80 percent.

Snow water content - a measure of the amount of water in the snow - was 4.9 inches, or 74 percent of normal for March 1, at Salmon Meadows northwest of Conconully.

Combined storage for the Conconully reservoirs was 18,200 acre-feet, or 124 percent of normal.

Temperatures were much below normal for February and slightly below normal for the water year, the report said.

The current, 30-day weather forecast statewide calls for below-normal temperatures and equal chances for precipitation, but the three-month forecast still indicates above-normal temperatures and equal chances of below-, above- or normal precipitation with a continuation of El Nino conditions through spring and early summer.

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