Western Oregon snowpack slightly below normal
Oregons snowpack an indicator of how much water we might have during the dry summer months is holding stead at near normal or above-normal levels, according to the March Water Supply Outlook Report by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Conservation service officials said the snowpack continues to surpass last years peak levels. The statewide average snowpack is 92 percent of normal, according to the service.
In Eastern Oregon, above-normal precipitation has left it with the highest snowpack levels. Western Oregons snowpack is the lowest in the state in the Mount Hood and Willamette basins, at about 77 percent and 76 percent of normal.
Temperature will be the key indicator for March snowpack development and retention, since warmer conditions have already resulted in low and mid-elevation snowmelt run-off in several locations, said Scott Oviatt, NRCS Oregon snow survey supervisor. Eastern Oregon continues to see the best conditions in the state, due to cooler mountain temperatures.
According to the March report, streamflow forecasts call for slightly-below-average to slightly-above-average volumes for the summer water supply season.
The NRCS Snow Survey is the federal program that measures snow and provides streamflow forecasts and snowpack data across the West. In Oregon, snow measurements are collected from 81 sites, 42 manually measured snow courses and 26 aerial markers.
Water and snowpack data for all Oregon sites are available online at www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/snow .