PORTLAND, OR -- It’s a common question across the Northwest: “Where’s the snow?” Oregon’s statewide snowpack is well below normal. It's now 57% of what it should be in mid-December.
Scott Oviatt, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), says the light snowfall is extremely bad news, following three year of very dry conditions, “Currently, 2/3 of the state is in extreme drought or greater according to the national drought monitor. And, over the past 180 days up at our SNOTEL sites, we only have a handful of sites - and those are in the upper elevation of the Blue Mountains and the Wallowas - that are anywhere close to approaching normal.”
Oviatt says many parts of the state aren’t even receiving rain in the higher elevations. “There’s still time. We’ve had years where we’ve had late season snow accumulation to get us near normal. However, every day that passes us, that much less available water is accumulating.” That water is needed for irrigators this spring and summer.