Hydrologist: Snowstorm 'beneficial' for a soil moisture recharge

Mar 7, 2018

Photo taken Tuesday (3-6-18) outside Prairie Public studios in Bismarck.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Beneficial.

That’s how National Weather Service hydrologist Allen Schlag describes the snow we’ve had over the last few days.

"Probably anybody who's out there shoveling really like the idea of calling this 'beneficial,'" Schlag joked.

But Schlag said it has been a helpful event for agriculture and the environment.

"Prior to coming into this weekend, we were well below normal for both snowfall received and snowpack retained on the countryside," Schlag said. "The current snowfall we've received -- there's nothing in it that is alarming."

Schlag said generally, northern, central and western North Dakota were about two inches of moisture behind normal.

"That's a large deficit," Schlag said.

But in this one snow event, Schlag said one to one and a half inches of moisture were received over "very large" areas.

"That's going to go a long ways in making up thatv soil moisture deficit," Schlag said. But he also said he's hoping not all the moisture will seep into the ground.

"We also need some of it to hit our surface water systems to fill up our streams, rivers wetlands and cattle ponds -- the dugouts and stuff like that," Schlag said. "It would be nice to see that water split up between all those various needs."

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