A round of storms is approaching the Pacific Northwest this weekend. The moisture is expected to fall in the form of rain in the valleys and foothills, and snow in the highest elevations.
The precipitation could help boost Oregon’s snowpack, which continues to be well below average for this time of the winter. Much of the northern Oregon Cascades has one-fourth the normal amount of snow on the ground.
USDA hydrologist Scott Oviatt said there’s still a long way to go before things reach a crisis. “Last year we had a very cold and wet February with major snow accumulation, so there’s still that opportunity there," he said. "But as each day passes, and we have these warmer systems impacting us, it becomes more of a concern.”
Eastern Oregon is closer to normal when it comes to snowpack this winter, but most places there are still below normal for early January.
Overall, said Oviatt, the state is in better shape than it was during the most recent "snow drought," the winter of 2014-2015. That year, "we had a high majority of sites across the state that registered zero snowpack throughout January."