SALEM, OR -- Concern is growing about Oregon's snowpack. Cool temperatures in October and November brought early snow to the mountains. But, Julie Koeberle, with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, says that changed last month, "December being dry and a little bit warm at the end, we washed a lot of our snowpack away."
Snowpack is important because the mountains are like a bank for the summer water supply. Farmers rely on the runoff for irrigation and fish need it to keep rivers cool during the hot summer months. Koeberle says it isn't looking good. "At the moment, it’s the lowest snowpack we’ve seen since 2015." She adds, "Most of our snowpack throughout the state is half of normal or less." That's slightly lower than just a week ago.
But, she says Oregon's mountains typically get their biggest snowfall in January and February, "We will say that January is early season, so we can have really a wide variety of outcomes. So, it’s a little too soon to worry."