Oregon Snowpack Benefiting From the Atmospheric River
The Oregon snowpack, and specifically the southern Oregon snowpack, is looking great for this time of year. According to NRCS-Oregon, the Lake County-Goose Lake Basin is at 147% of average, the Owyhee is 140% of normal snowfall, and the Harney Basin is sitting at 156% of average. In fact, all basins across the state are greater than 110% above average for this time of year.
Matt Warbitton with NRCS-Oregon said the atmospheric river, which has been getting a lot of attention for the storms it’s ushered in to California, also provided a lot of precipitation to the Oregon and Washington coasts.
“And that went inland quite a bit, so really the whole of Oregon, most of our sites in Oregon I should say, experience some amount of storm impact which really helped to bolster snowpack especially in the central cascades where we're seeing some drier sites there's sites with snow deficits."
Warbritton noted while there are still a few sites that are below normal in the Cascades, the snowpack statewide has improved considerably. Another positive he noted; temperatures this snow season have been below normal, which is good news when it comes to the snowpack staying in place until the spring runoff. And that’s evident when looking at stream flows.
“So, if we look at stream flow east of the Cascades, and even in areas along the Crest, we're seeing well below normal; and some areas slightly below normal stream flows and you know that's in part due to a lot of that water still being stored in the snow because it's so cold," Warbritton pointed out. "And, of course, once we venture on West of the cascade Crest stream flows and notably in the Willamette Valley are more near normal.”
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