Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, April 27 2012 at 3:52 PM, Updated: Fri, April 27 2012 at 4:08 PM
Recent warm rains are taking a toll on mountain snow pack levels - and that could translate into a big problem for farmers later on this summer.
Kevin Conroy of the Natural Resources Conservation Service has been keeping a close eye on mountain snow pack levels...
"From within a two week period, we've seen a drop from 107 percent of average down to 96 percent of average for the snow pack. So it's coming off fairly significantly."
The melting snow has caused the Sprague River near Beatty to rise to a half foot below flood stage - and there's a lot of water flowing through the Link River Dam.
Mountain snow pack will provide water for farmers in the late summer. And if it melts too early, it won't come back until it snows again next winter.
For now, water is still flowing to farmers.
"Right now, we plan to continue with full deliveries, and monitor the situation daily." Says Kevin Moore of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. "If situations warrant, we'll make sure we let our irrigators know what's going on so there's no surprises."
Kevin Conroy notes that it's still early in the season...
"I don't think it's necessarily time to panic, but to be cautiously optimistic about where we're going to end up later on in the year."
But a cold snap to help hold the snow in place wouldn't hurt.
A 'Miracle March' helped to boost snow pack levels from 66 percent at the start of March to 100 percent of average on April 2nd. Precipitation for March in the Klamath Basin was 181 percent of average.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.