Oregon's warm winter raises fear of summer drought

Oregon Snowpack levels on Feb. 9, 2018

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — If winter weather doesn't arrive soon, Oregon could be facing a summer drought.

The Statesman Journal reports this has been one of the warmest winters on record in Salem, the capital city. That has meant rain instead of snow in the Cascade Range, where snowpack is 35 to 40 percent of normal.

Snowpack forecasts are used by farmers to see how much irrigation water they can expect, utilities to plan for hydroelectric plant outputs, and fisheries managers for conditions facing salmon as they migrate out to sea and back upriver to spawn.

Statistics show Oregon has gotten 88 percent of its usual precipitation but just 40 percent of its typical snowfall.

The same trend was present in 2014 and 2015 before snowier winters arrived the following two years.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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