2018 Pacific Northwest Snowpack Off to a Slow Start

For all you ski, snowboard, and snowshoe lovers out there in Oregon, we bet you remember 2015’s winter snow drought. It reminded us that all precipitation isn’t necessarily created equal – for our region, rain does not make up for low mountain snowpack. And it’s not just an issue for winter recreation, it also has big implications for summer water supplies, which we all rely on for things like drinking water, irrigation, and healthy rivers and streams for fish. Low snowpack winters can also mean more severe fire seasons the following summer.               

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So how is the winter of 2018 shaping up? For the Oregon snow-country lovers among us, not very happily so far. Dr. John Abatzoglou of the Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) says it’s a story of have and have-nots. His latest article gives all the details of the snow so far and what to expect.

John and the team at CIRC will be tracking snowpack in the coming months using the Northwest Climate Toolbox and through the upcoming series of the Pacific Northwest Drought & Climate Outlook Webinars. And if you’d like to revisit the 2015 snow drought, check out Meghan Dalton’s piece on whether 2015 is a harbinger of future climate changes.

CIRC is a climate-science-to-climate-action team that supports communities, policy makers, and resource managers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana as they work to adapt to our changing climate. CIRC is based at Oregon State University, is hosted by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program.