Oregon’s Snowpack Increases, Above Normal

Oregon’s snowpack this year is above normal according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Mountain snowpack impact flows into waterways during the drier spring and summer months.

The says a surplus of February snow has replenished the state’s snowpack, and that many rivers and streams will have above average flow levels. The report notes a possible exception for rivers in northwest Oregon and the Upper Deschutes Basin – noting Hood, Sandy and Lower Deschutes as the only area with below average snowpack at 86% of normal.

When the increased flows start will depend on weather.

“While the April forecast is showing near normal to above normal streamflow into the coming months, the timing of it remains uncertain,” said Scott Oviatt, NRCS snow survey supervisory hydrologist, in a news release. “If warm and dry conditions or rapid snowmelt occur in the near term, streamflows could peak early and result in lower snowmelt-driven flows later in the summer.”

The report also notes some regions have unusually high amounts of snowpack, that rapid snowmelt or rainfall could lead to flooding. The eastern and central regions of John Day and Lake County/Goose Lake have 160 percent and 162 percent snowpack, respectively.