Weather worries

Posted on February 15th in News

As of Feb. 1, Harney Basin snowpack was 60 percent of average

By Jennifer Jenks
Burns Times-Herald

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently released the February Water Outlook Report.

According to the report, the water supply level continues to look bleak if dry conditions persist.

The mid-January storm brought much needed snow to the Harney Basin. The snow water equivalent more than doubled at many SNOTEL sites in the basin during this storm. Last month, the Harney Basin snowpack was only 32 percent of average. By Feb. 1, the basin snowpack had risen to 60 percent of average. While conditions improved during January, the snowpack remains well below normal for this time of year.

Precipitation for the month of January was 120 percent of average in the Harney Basin. Since the beginning of water year 2012, precipitation in the basin has been 71 percent of average. While still below normal, this is a significant improvement from last month’s report.

“We received above average precipitation in January,” said Zola Ryan, district conservationist for the NRCS Hines Field Office, “which certainly helped reduce our deficit for the water year. But we will need to see some good late winter snowstorms to boost the water supply to average levels.”

As of Feb. 1, streamflows in the Harney Basin are forecast to be well below normal for the summer of 2012. The April through September streamflow forecasts in the basin range from 41 percent of average for Trout Creek near Denio to 74 percent of average for the Silvies River near Burns. At this point in the season, water users in the basin can expect well below normal streamflows for this summer.

For more information, contact the NRCS Hines Field Office at 541-573-6446 or visit:

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