Officials of the Governor's Drought Advisory Committee are calling for near normal water supply and moisture conditions statewide through mid-July. Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger serves as the Chair of the Governor's Drought Advisory Committee.
"We had fairly good precipitation this year," said Governor Brian Schweitzer. "But as a farmer and soil scientist I always pray we get some more good moisture this spring. In Montana, you always have to be prepared as things can dry out quick if we have a hot summer."
For October through April, the National Weather Service reports precipitation averaged 7.05 inches, or 0.68-inches above normal, and the 39th wettest of the 118 year record.
According to the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) May 1, 2012 Montana Basin Outlook Report, "spring snowpack is primed for runoff during the month of May. Looking across the state the northern basins continue to be at or slightly above average, while the southern basins, feeling the effects of the warm temperatures, saw a decrease in basin snowpack percentages."
Regarding streamflow prospects, NRCS reports that, west of the Continental Divide stream flows are forecast to be 102 percent of average and east of the Divide 85 percent of average. Of 54 river basins shown on the May 7, 2012 Surface Water Supply Index Map, 50 are forecast to range from average to extremely wet, with only 3 basins at slightly below and 1 basin at moderately dry through May.
According to the Agricultural Statistics Service May 7th Crop Weather Report topsoil moisture, adequate and surplus, is at 83 percent and subsoil 75 percent adequate and surplus. Winter wheat condition is rated 63 percent good to excellent with 93 percent greening and growing ahead of last year at this time when it was only 67 percent. State and federally- managed reservoirs are almost all showing average or above contents or are expected to fill as a result of runoff of the mountain snowpack over coming weeks. The Northern Rockies Coordination Center reports that at this time there is no reason to expect any more than a normal wildfire season although high winds have whipped up some prairie range fires over the past 6 weeks.