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Snowpack Closer to Normal

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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Recent rain and snow in southern Idaho and the central mountains have helped bring the region's lagging snow-pack closer to normal. That's good news for farmers, river recreation-ists, wildlife and Idaho Power.

Many of the key drainages that feed the Snake River and ultimately fuel Idaho Power's 17 hydroelectric projects have been gripped by drought this winter. The recent precipitation brought by a warm, wet weather system that meteorologists call the "Pineapple Express" has helped. The latest figures from the National Water and

Climate Center, released Tuesday, show the Salmon drainage and most eastern Idaho areas near or above 100 percent of normal.

However, the Boise, Payette and Big Wood drainages remain at 83—85 percent of normal, and other southern and southeastern Idaho areas are even drier. For details, see the weekly SNOTEL map published online by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Resources Conservation Council.

Idaho Power's hydro system is the least-cost source of electricity for our customers. Winter precipitation, especially high mountain snow that melts later in the season, are essential to supplying that hydro system during the high demand summer months.

Editor's note: A February 21 update from SNOTEL sites around Idaho shows a distinct pattern of higher than normal "snow/water content equivalent" in the east edge of Idaho, and a similar trend extending northwest. Going toward the southwest, the water content drops steadily, with Owyhee County being lowest, with 48% of normal. The Boise River basin was up to 92%, the Payette 85% and the Weiser River only 66% of normal.

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Original Publication Date: February 26, 2014

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