TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) -- Federal water managers say reservoirs in the upper Snake River system are holding more water heading into the winter this season than any other time in the past 10 years.

Even if southern Idaho has a dry winter, the current health of the river system is good news for farmers, ranchers and dairymen who have struggled with drought over much of the past decade.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation figures released this week show two of the system's three biggest reservoirs are more than half full, while overall the system is 57 percent full.

Water levels in American Falls and Palisades reservoirs were close to their average levels and each held nearly twice the water they did at this time last year. Jackson Lake, in Wyoming, is on par with last year's levels and is holding one and a half times its average amount.

While the data isn't close to setting new records, the figures mark an improvement and good omen for next year, said Mike Beus, water manager for the Bureau of Reclamation in Burley.

While the data isn't close to setting new records, the figures mark an improvement and good omen for next year, said Mike Beus, water manager for the Bureau of Reclamation in Burley.

"We're pleasantly full, and have enough carry-over to have good stream flows through the winter," Beus told the Times News "It's almost certain to refill storage next spring, even if we have severely deficient snowpack."

A dry winter could be in the forecast, however.

Some meteorologists are projecting that Idaho snowpack may be down from the levels of the last two years. Jay Breidenbach, hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says a weak El Nino effect -- meaning warmer water in the equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean -- is expected to strengthen and bring a warmer, drier winter to the Pacific Northwest. Last month, NOAA announced that worldwide ocean temperatures hit a new record high this summer, based on records dating back to 1880.

In May, hydrologists said most reservoirs in Idaho filled after the spring snowmelt except for some of the biggest in the state that rarely reach capacity and some in central Idaho where snowpack levels were below average.

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