SALEM, Ore. — Oregon’s snowpack is below average heading into April despite snow and cooler weather last month.
The Capital Press reported Monday that all basins are behind on snowpack and most are measuring between 40 and 70 percent of normal levels.
The areas close to the Columbia River have a nearly normal snow pack for April, but parts of southern Oregon are much worse off.
The Hood River, Sandy and Lower Deschutes basins are at 94 percent of normal snow pack.
The Umatilla, Walla Walla and Willow basins also reached 93 percent of normal.
In southern Oregon, the Malheur and Owyhee basins both received less than half their usual snow pack, and the Klamath Basin is just barely at 50 percent.
Gov. Kate Brown has already declared a drought in Klamath County, and other counties may follow.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service released its April stream flow forecast on Friday. Not surprisingly, it predicts that rivers closest to the Columbia River are expected to have average to near average flows. Others may be well below normal.
“Water users that are not able to take advantage of reservoir storage will likely experience significantly reduced water supplies this summer, especially in the southern and southeastern basins of Oregon,” the report states.
Summer stream flows could be as low as 30-60 percent of average in the Klamath, Harney, Crooked, Owyhee, Malheur, Lake and Goose Lake basins.
With the snowiest part of the year now in the rear-view mirror, farmers and others who rely on snowpack are hoping for a chilly spring.
“Our best hope is a cool spring that helps to prolong the snow we have further into the season,” said Scott Oviatt, NRCS snow survey supervisor.
Information from: Capital Press, http://www.capitalpress.com/washington