BEND, OR -- State hydrologists are cautiously optimistic about snowpack levels for 2016. The first winter water supply outlook by the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows levels at 123% of normal. Melissa Webb with the NRCS tells KBND News, "We had a big December, we had a lot of snow falling in the mountains and that puts us at above-average snowpack. Which, typically means that if it stays around that same normal condition, that we'll have normal stream flows for the summer."
Snowpacks have already surpassed last year's peak, at all locations, statewide. "This year in the Upper Deschutes Basin, we're at 109% of normal for snowpack. Last year at this time, we were only at 36% of normal. As you might recall, we had a lot of record low snowpack sites last year, so that really left the state at a pretty difficult spot," says Webb. Water managers are hopeful the trend will continue to bring us out of drought conditions.