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Streamflow forecast

The Humboldt River flows past apartment buildings off 12th Street in Elko on Tuesday afternoon. The river is expected to flow 150-200 percent above average during the spring runoff season.

ELKO – Streamflows in northern Nevada are expected to be double the average amount this spring, yet no major flooding is predicted.

That’s good news for agriculture and recreation, according to water resource officials.

Minor flooding could occur on the Marys River north of Deeth, and on the Humboldt River near Winnemucca, the National Weather Service predicted.

The weather service issued a flood advisory for the Bruneau River in extreme northern Elko County on Tuesday. The river reached 8.7 feet – which is above the minor flood stage of 7 feet – before water levels receded later in the day.

Elsewhere, the Owyhee River at Mountain City topped 7 feet on Tuesday, approaching the minor flood stage of 8 feet.

The runoff forecast for the Humboldt River at Elko is 195 percent of average.

The river was just over 4 feet on Tuesday and wasn’t expected to exceed 4.5 feet this week, well below the minor flood stage of 6.2 feet.

Snowpack in the Upper Humboldt Basin was 162 percent of average on April 1.

“Reservoirs across northern Nevada are expected to fill this spring,” the Natural Resources Conservation Service wrote in its April 1 water supply outlook.

Runoff forecasts for April through July range from 114 percent on the Owyhee River near Gold Creek, to more than 250 percent on Sagehen Creek in the Truckee Basin.

A few factors could affect the risk of flooding.

“This year the robust snowpack in the 6,000 to 7,500-foot range combined with below normal soil moisture are wild cards,” wrote the NRCS. “A third wild card is how much precipitation falls during the forecast period. … Wet years often remain wet going into spring, causing observed flows to end up being above the [forecast].”

This spring has seen a series of wet Pacific storms continue to sweep through the region. In Elko, a total of 1.90 inches of precipitation was measured in March, compared with the average of 1 inch. And more than half an inch of precipitation has fallen so far in April, which is roughly twice the normal amount.

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