BEND, OR -- As Central Oregonians fight mounting drifts of snow, The Natural Resources Conservation Service says we can look forward to summer, knowing that - more than likely - we now have enough water to sustain irrigation season. "With the cooler air, it resulted in these multiple snow accumulations both in the mountains, of course, and down in the lower elevations as well," says Hydrologist Scott Oviatt. Central Oregon's snowpack was just 73% of normal on February first. "But now, we're at 111% of normal in the Upper Deschutes and Crooked River Basin," Oviatt said Thursday. "All in all, this is where we want to be. We're hoping to continue to build that snowpack. We'd like to see the cooler temperatures prevail through early spring and even into early summer, because that'll maintain that snowmelt for a longer period of time, adding to our stream flows."
According to the NRCS, February is the first month with near-normal precipitation Central Oregon has seen since October. Oviatt tells KBND News, "Our hope is that we continue with this cooler, wetter trend and continue to build our snowpack throughout the remainder of the winter season." He says last summer was a warm one, resulting in a lot of demand on already low reservoirs. "If we have a slower, cooler runoff period in the spring and early summer, that'll help maintain our streamflows and build our reservoir levels up," says Oviatt, which would help the region recover from some of the effects of the area's long-term drought.