PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Researchers hiked about a mile past Timberline Lodge Thursday morning to measure the snowpack on Mt. Hood, which came in at more than 7 feet.
“This is pretty typical of a spring snowpack,” says hydrologist Julie Koeberle. This year’s rain and snow is a big improvement from last year’s drought, which means there will be more water for agriculture and hydroelectric power. But Koeberle says it isn’t all good news.
“We lost about 8 inches of water content over the month when we’re normally gaining snow.”
Koeberle says the recent warm weather has caused Mt. Hood’s snowpack to start melting earlier than usual.
“What happened March 31 is we hit our peak and then we started to melt.”
The snowpack is only at 70% of average, which could put a strain on the water supply.
“If May turns out to be a super warm month and we melt off the snow faster than we’d like to see, then it all depends on how warm and dry the summer is,” says Koeberle.
The full water supply forecast will be released May 1.