ALERT: Idaho Drought Shows Signs of Easing
The steady rain and snow we’ve been enduring have a proverbial silver lining. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s map for Idaho shows improvement when it comes to drought conditions. The map has been static for months.
The worst of the dry conditions have been in southern Idaho and a couple of smaller pockets in the eastern part of the state and in the Treasure Valley. At one time, severe drought plagued the entire southern tier of the state. Now there are breaks in the southeast corner and in the west in the northern portion of Owyhee County. The band south of the Snake River is also shrinking.
While none of this guarantees a plush growing season, reservoirs are topping off and that could be a boon for irrigation. The snowpack is solid and in the south hills near Twin Falls, the depth may quench the Magic Valley when runoff begins.
We’re hesitant to pronounce an end to a drought that some scientists claim is the worst in 1,200 years (they measure the entire American west).
Last winter, we got off to a great start with bountiful snow but as the season dragged on, things began drying out. By late spring, many fields were a golden brown, and cheatgrass would dissolve at the touch of a finger.
Unlike neighboring California, Idaho doesn’t slush excess rain and snow into the ocean. The Wall Street Journal claims California will lose 95 percent of what has fallen during this historic wet season.
We probably need another steady six weeks of what we’ve seen and then a more average spring before we celebrate.