snowpack

Hyalite Creek flows down the canyon.

Late January storms saved the Gallatin River basin from dismal snowpack levels, but there is still a lot of time before the water season ends, according to the National Resources and Conservation Service.

“Seventeen days. That’s how long the snowmobilers and skiers in the Gallatin River basin had to wait after the New Year started for favorable storm patterns to play out and drop snow in the Gallatin River basin,” water specialist Lucas Zukiewicz said Wednesday in a release.

The basin squeaked by last month with snowpack levels 106 percent of normal and 132 percent of last year, according to the agency. Mountains rimming the Gallatin Valley are leading the way with both the Hyalite and Bridger ranges at 126 percent of average. Further south, the Upper Gallatin area is 86 percent of average. All three areas are above reported levels this time last year.

There’s still time to make up the southern snowpack, Zukiewicz said.

“Spring is the time when we are climatologically favored to have our biggest snow months, so the deficits in the headwaters could be made up if favorable weather patterns (storms approaching from the southwest) make an appearance this spring,” he wrote.

The Madison River basin is 85 percent of average, and the Jefferson River basin is 91 percent of average.