The Very Long Range Forecast


While Idahoans dig out of their first good taste of winter and prepare for what could be the coldest Thanksgiving on record, professional weather watchers (not the guys on TV) are focusing on the extended forecast ... the very extended forecast.

Following erratic El Nino weather patterns, which stretched from last winter to this past spring, hydrologists are expecting a La Nina season, generally associated with cold and snowy weather for the Pacific Northwest.

The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, which tracks snowpacks and snow-to-water equivalents, has released its fall report indicating that Idaho's water supply is in better-than-expected shape. Forecasters worried that last winter's low snowfall would cripple streamflows. But an unusual stretch of rainfall followed, and now NRCS models predict an average snowpack in 2011 should be good enough for next year's irrigation season.

Here's a look at the most recent snow-water equivalent basins across Idaho.