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Oregon Snowpack Continues To Be Well Below Normal

A map shows snowpack conditions for January 2, 2020.
A map shows snowpack conditions for January 2, 2020.

A round of storms is approaching the Pacific Northwest this weekend. The moisture is expected to fall in the form of rain in the valleys and foothills, and snow in the highest elevations.

A map shows snowpack conditions for January 2, 2020.
Credit USDA
A map shows snowpack conditions for January 2, 2020.

The precipitation could help boost Oregon’s snowpack, which continues to be well below average for this time of the winter. Much of the northern Oregon Cascades has one-fourth the normal amount of snow on the ground.

USDA hydrologist Scott Oviatt said there’s still a long way to go before things reach a crisis. “Last year we had a very cold and wet February with major snow accumulation, so there’s still that opportunity there," he said. "But as each day passes, and we have these warmer systems impacting us, it becomes more of a concern.”

Eastern Oregon is closer to normal when it comes to snowpack this winter, but most places there are still below normal for early January.

Overall, said Oviatt, the state is in better shape than it was during the most recent "snow drought," the winter of 2014-2015. That year, "we had a high majority of sites across the state that registered zero snowpack throughout January."

Copyright 2020 KLCC

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”