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Snowpack Forecasts Dropping Across The Basin; Water Supply 83 Percent Normal At Dalles Dam
Posted on Friday, February 08, 2019 (PST)

Snowpack and streamflow forecasts are below average across most of the Columbia Basin, with those conditions being particularly pronounced in southern and southeastern Oregon, according to a Thursday water supply briefing from the Northwest River Forecast Center in Portland.


Forecaster Ryan Lucas reported that water supply projections through September are 79 to 107 percent of average in Columbia River basins above Grand Coulee Dam; 61 to 95 percent in the Upper Snake, Westside Cascades and eastern Washington basins; and a withering 36 to 66 percent of average in southeastern Oregon.


January delivered above-average temperatures across most of the basin, but Lucas said, “The first few days of February we’ve seen this trend toward cooler weather.”


While a long-predicted El Nino weather pattern has yet to emerge from the Pacific Ocean, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center maintains there is a 65 percent chance of a weak El Nino taking shape over the next couple months. For that reason, the CPC’s three-month outlook calls for warmer and drier-than-average weather in the Pacific Northwest. However, February is projected to be colder than average in the region.


That could boost snowpack numbers that are lagging as of this week: 82 percent of average in the Pend Oreille basin; 75 percent in the Kootenai; 90 percent in the Columbia River above Canada’s Arrow Dam; 83 percent above Grand Coulee Dam; 93 percent in the Snake River Basin above American Falls; 88 percent in the Snake above Hell’s Canyon; 85 percent in the Snake above Ice Harbor, and 83 percent in the Columbia above The Dalles Dam, where current river flows are 81 percent of average.


Snowpack in the Cascades is 88 percent of average in the Skagit River Basin; 70 percent in the Cowlitz; 70 percent in the Willamette basin; and 75 percent in the Rogue River Basin.


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