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Oregon Snowpack Is Above Average Overall

<p>A view of the Deschutes River near First Street rapids in Bend, after a winter storm dumped over a foot of snow overnight on February 25, 2019.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

Emily Cureton

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A view of the Deschutes River near First Street rapids in Bend, after a winter storm dumped over a foot of snow overnight on February 25, 2019.  

Despite warmer, spring-like weather in March, as of April 1 most of Oregon has above normal snowpack levels according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Mountain snowpack affects the flow of waterways during the drier spring and summer months.

The report states that the surplus of snow gained in February replenished most of Oregon’s snowpack.

Many rivers and streams are expected to have average to above-average flow levels for drier months except potentially rivers in northwest Oregon and the Upper Deschutes Basin.

The region of Hood, Sandy and Lower Deschutes is the only area with below average snowpack at 86% of normal.

Still, inevitably the waterway flows will be dependent on the 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 states that because some regions have unusually high amounts of snowpack, rapid snowmelt or rainfall could lead to flooding.

The eastern and central regions of John Day and Lake County/Goose Lake have 160% and 162% snowpack, respectively.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.