MOUNT HOOD, Ore. (KOIN) — The annual survey of snowpack is underway on Mount Hood, and hydrologists say the amount of rain and snow the mountain received this year is helping the region recover from a drought.
USDA hydrologist Julie Koeberle drilled deep into the snow Tuesday morning and pulled up some good results: There were 21 inches of water in 82 inches of snow.
That’s 124% the average water content in snow on Mount Hood.
“That’s fantastic, we’ll take it,” Koeberle said. “It’s a great start and now with this type of base if we do have an extended dry spell, or even if we do have some rain, the snowpack has a great ability to absorb rain. It’s like a sponge.”
High water content in Mount Hood’s snow means more water being stored for next summer. That’s more cold water for fish, more water for farmers to irrigate and more water for the region’s largest source of renewable energy: hydroelectric power.
“There’s a lot of implications for a lack of snowpack, and when we have a good snowpack everybody wins,” Koeberle said.
And there’s more good news outside of Mount Hood. Koeberle says water content in snowpack in southern and eastern Oregon are running around 150% of average.
Although we can’t quite say what will happen in coming weeks and months, hydrologists are confident we’re off to a good start.
The one dark cloud on the horizon could be from climatologists who expect temperatures in the next 90 days to be warmer than average in the Pacific Northwest.