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Despite Recent Snow, Oregon's Low Snowpack Worries Experts

OPB | Jan. 15, 2014 1:24 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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A series of winter storms that moved across region starting last week brought 20 inches of snow to several parts of the Cascades, but not enough to significantly improve the snowpack.

That’s the assessment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Oregon has had far less precipitation over the last three months than in past years. Julie Koeberle is a hydrologist with the USDA. She says forecasters are predicting summer streamflows throughout much of the state will be less than 50 percent of normal.

Koeberle explained, “And that does have an impact on water supply, irrigation, hydro-electric generation and it’s puts stress and strain on fisheries. And so there’s many implications.”

She says the outlook is most dire in the Klamath Basin where stream flow predictions range from 50, all the way down to 20 percent of normal.

Koeberle says there is still time for significant improvement to the snowpack. But she says it’s less and less likely that we’ll see enough snowfall to get back to normal for the year.

On the Web

Snowpack charts and maps

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