Snow report predicts low summer flows
June 11, 2016
Early in the winter, most of Oregon’s mountains were on track to have a near normal snow season, according to the June Water Supply Outlook Report released by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. However, an unusually warm springtime temperatures abbreviated the winter and started an early and rapid snowmelt.
While about half of monitoring sites in the state recorded near normal peak amounts of snow, most of those peaks occurred between one to four weeks earlier than normal. “The early snowmelt has resulted in streamflows peaking sooner and beginning to recede to mid-summer levels up to four weeks early,” said NRCS Snow Survey Supervisor Scott Oviatt.
“Water year precipitation (since October 1st) has been near to above normal across the state, and has boosted reservoir levels that were near record low at the end of last summer,” Oviatt said. “This paints a much better picture for water supply this year, compared to last year when reservoir storage was well below average. However, if the summer is hot and increases demand, water users drawing from reservoir sources could still experience possible water shortages.”
Streamflow forecasts for the summer are calling for below normal to well below normal residual streamflow volumes. Streamflow forecasts in Southeast Oregon are the lowest in the state with most of the forecasts less than 60 percent of average.
Find the latest information on Oregon’s streamflow forecasts in the June Water Supply Outlook Report available on the NRCS Oregon website.
The 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 data for all Oregon SNOTEL sites are available online in a variety of formats. The reports are updated every hour and are available at: http://www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/snow
NRCS publishes six monthly Oregon Water Supply Outlook Reports between January 1st and June 1st every year.
Image: Photo courtesy Bill Overman, Oregon NRCS. The last of the winter’s snow at McKenzie Pass.
McKenzie River Reflections