Inland Northwest mountain snow levels higher than 30-year average - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Inland Northwest mountain snow levels higher than 30-year average

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Associated Press - March 30, 2008 6:25 PM ET

LOOKOUT PASS, Idaho (AP) - People who study water content in snow say the Inland Northwest's snowpack has surpassed the 30-year average, while the Columbia River Basin should be about average after several drought years.

In the Spokane River, the water supply forecast is 126% of normal this year. For the Columbia River, measured at The Dalles Dam, the forecast is 103% of normal.

Scott Pattee, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mount Vernon, Wash. says an average spring snowpack is significant because the region hasn't had a normal year for several years.

In the Pacific Northwest, mountain snow runoff waters crops, generates power, flushes juvenile salmon out to the ocean, and makes whitewater rafting trips possible.

Across the region, people are fanning out to measure mountain snow depths for an April 1st water report.

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