Record low snowpacks in Southwest is bad news for water supplies



Nine states report record low snowpacks. A report from the US Department of Agriculture states, “the largest snowpack deficits are in record territory for many basins,especially in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada where single – digit percent of normal conditions prevail. Very low snowpacks are reported in most of Washington, all of Oregon, Nevada, California, parts of Arizona, much of Idaho, parts of New Mexico, three basins in Wyoming, one basin in Montana, and most of Utah.” This region is undergoing the warmest winter temperatures since record keeping began in 1895.

“There has been near average precipitation in many areas, but it has mostly been rain. The snowpack normally serves as a natural reservoir, which feeds the rivers during spring snowmelt. The lack of snow will have an impact on streams and reservoirs in much of the west,” said Michael Strobel, Director of the National Water and Climate Center in Portland.

Much of California, Western Nevada and Southeast Oregon are already experiencing extreme drought conditions. This is especially critical in California, which is its fourth year of a drought.

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