NW Water Supply Rebounds Across Most Of Northwest After March Storms

Apr 10, 2014

Irrigators, hydropower dam operators and tugboat captains are sitting pretty across most of the Northwest. That's according to the latest regional water supply forecast. 

On this map of current snow conditions, blues and greens are good. Red, orange and yellow represent below average snowpack.
Credit Northwest River Forecast Center

A branch of the National Weather Service offers a regional water supply forecast. It's updated monthly. First, the good news. After a slow start to the water year, key Columbia and Snake River drainages are now caught up or even above normal.

Portland-based hydrologist Joanne Salerno says this bodes well for farmers, electricity production, navigation and fish migration. On the other hand, she says areas "where we've been very dry, it's still dry." That would include drought-stricken southwest Idaho and southern Oregon.

"Where we had high amounts of snow last month, we have it this month,” Salerno said. “That is particularly along the Rockies, Bitterroot Mountains and Upper Snake area."

The National Weather Service boosted the spring runoff forecast past Grand Coulee Dam to 104 percent of normal. Lower down the Columbia River at The Dalles Dam, the forecast runoff is 103 percent of normal. Southern Oregon's Rogue River is the worst off of our major water arteries. The runoff volume there is projected at around 70 percent of normal.

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