Skip Navigation

News Release

Warm temps and meager snow hurting water supply outlook

Below average snow reported at all Oregon snowpack monitoring sites

NEWS_RELEASE_HEADER-UPDATED

Release No.: 2018.02.021

Contact:
Julie Koeberle, Snow Survey Hydrologist
503-414-3272, julie.koeberle@or.usda.gov

Melissa Webb, Snow Survey Hydrologist
503-414-3270, melissa.webb@or.usda.gov

PORTLAND, Ore. — (Feb. 8, 2018) — Oregon’s current snowpack is well below normal across the state. In order for snowpack to catch up to normal levels by peak snow season on the first of April, the next two months will need 125-225 percent above average snowfall.

This according to the February Water Supply Outlook Report released today by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Warm temps and meager snow hurting water supply outlook“With about half of winter behind us, chances for a full snowpack recovery are low, but there is still time left for conditions to improve,” said Julie Koeberle, Snow Survey hydrologist.

A spot of hope for snowpack improvement is the long range weather forecast from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, which calls for cooler and wetter than normal conditions through most of Oregon over the next three months.

Water managers should note summer streamflow forecasts have decreased compared to last month’s report. Currently, forecasts continue to predict well below average streamflows throughout the state.

“Water managers will need to carefully evaluate water supplies this summer if snow and spring rains fail to bring relief,” said Koeberle.

The most promising streamflow forecasts range from near normal in the Umatilla and Walla Walla basins to slightly below normal in the rivers flowing from Mt. Hood.

The lowest streamflow forecasts in the state are currently where conditions have been driest (southern and southeastern Oregon). Here, forecasts are all less than 60 percent of normal.

Detailed interpretations, forecasts and historical data are available in the February Water Supply Outlook Report on the NRCS Oregon website.

NRCS Snow Survey is the federal program that measures snow and provides streamflow forecasts and snowpack data for communities, water managers and recreationalists across the West.

In Oregon, snow measurements are collected from 81 SNOTEL sites, 42 manually measured snow courses, and 26 aerial markers. Water and snowpack information for all SNOTEL sites nationwide is available on the Snow Survey website in a variety of formats. The reports are updated every hour and are available at: www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/snow.

NRCS publishes six monthly Oregon Water Supply Outlook Reports between Jan. 1 and June 1 every year. To regularly receive this information as an email announcement, visit the Oregon NRCS Snow Survey website and click the “email updates” icon to subscribe.