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This week’s rain should help fill Willamette Valley reservoirs


Here’s a drop of good news: This week’s rain might help alleviate drought conditions in southwest Oregon. Meteorologist Colby Neuman with the National Weather Service said the Army Corps of Engineers should be pleased. He told KLCC, “They hold the reservoirs super low on the west side of the Cascades during the months of December and January, and then starting in February they start to fill them. And because we didn’t get much rain in February they really weren’t able to fill them very much … so this will at least get them to fill them up closer to where they should be for this time of the year.”

Neuman said this system will bring steady but not heavy rain over the next few days. He expects a total of one to two inches in the Southern Willamette Valley, with an outside chance of three. Because snow levels are at 6,000 or 7,000 feet, Neuman said it won’t increase snowpack except on the highest peaks.

In a press release, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the information below represents conditions as of Feb. 28th:

Willamette Valley Project: The Willamette Valley Project’s 13 reservoirs are currently 9% full. System-wide reservoir storage are 36% below the rule curve. View the Willamette River Basin teacup diagram: https://www.nwd-wc.usace.army.mil/nwp/teacup/willamette/ or http://pweb.crohms.org/nwp/teacup/willamette/.

Rogue River Basin Project: The Rogue River Basin Project’s two reservoirs are currently 33% full. System-wide reservoir elevations are 37% below the rule curve. View the Rogue River Basin teacup diagram: https://www.nwd-wc.usace.army.mil/nwp/teacup/rogue/ or http://pweb.crohms.org/nwp/teacup/rogue/.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.