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New map suggests drought has worsened in some areas of southern Idaho

The Big Wood Basin, for example, has above normal snowpack right now
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 1:00 PM MDT
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SOUTHERN IDAHO (KMVT/KSVT) — Despite a relatively wet April in southern Idaho, the National Drought Mitigation Center’s newly released drought map for Idaho suggests drought has worsened.

This map was shown during the latest Idaho Water Supply Committee Meeting in Boise, during which water supply outlooks were discussed.

Officials said snowpack numbers relative to normal on May 1 were much improved than those seen the month before. National Resources Conservation Service Hydrologist Danny Tappa cited colder temperatures in April preserving snowpack levels, as well as, recent snow events as factors in this occurrence. While it is good news now, it doesn’t solve southern Idaho’s drought problem.

During his presentation, Tappa showed the Big Wood Basin, for example, has an above-normal snowpack right now, but due to a prolonged dry spell at the start of the year, the peak snowpack in the region was below typical standards.

In a change from conditions observed in April, a portion of southern Twin Falls County is now listed as being in extreme drought, as are the Pioneer Mountains in Blaine County.

“You kind of see things have kind of shifted around, but they haven’t changed dramatically,” said David Hoekema, a hydrologist with the Idaho Department of Water Resources. “I do think though as this precipitation continues if it does continue we will see some improvements as we go forward.”

According to NOAA/National Weather Service Senior Service Hydrologist Troy Lindquist, extended forecasts for the summer are showing above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation in southern Idaho, and it is expected drought conditions in the area will continue.

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