MEDFORD, Ore. – For weeks, winter weather has been falling across our region. Up at Mt. Ashland, the New Year is beginning with a 60-inch snow base.
At the start of the month, a state climatologist said snow toll stations were close to their lowest recorded snowpack on record. But over the last few weeks, a series of winter storms are building it up. Now, we’re close to normal or well-above normal across most of the state.
While these numbers are promising, there is still a long way to go in order to make a dent in our drought monitors.
Oregon State Climatologist Larry O’Neill said, “Currently, most sites in the mountains have only received about 40% of their average snowpack compared to the peak in April 1. So we still have a long way to go in the water year, in our wet season, to know if we’re going to get the normal amount of snowpack.”
O’Neill said he’s “cautiously optimistic” going into 2022. He said unless we see an above average, full wet season, there probably won’t be big moves within drought conditions. The areas of the state he expects to be most impacted are Central Oregon and the Klamath Basin. Those areas have been affected by many years of drought and will take many years to recover.