Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald



Baker County's snowpack is right about where it's supposed to be.

Which isn't to say all the snow is.

The half foot plastered all over your yard this morning, for instance, might seem both out of place and, given the calendar, time.

In the mountains, though, where abundant snow in early spring ensures streams will flow through the stifling summer, the situation is more, well, appropriate.

After lagging below average for much of the winter, the snowpack, fortified by a series of late storms - the latest of which you might still be shoveling - has climbed to near, and in several cases, above, normal.

And at a couple of bellwether snow-measuring sites - Anthony Lakes, for one - there's actually more snow than at this time in 2011, a year renowned for its bountiful snowpack.

When a crew from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service's Baker City office measured snow there earlier this week - before today's blizzard - they found the snow 79 inches deep, with a water content of 27.5 inches.

The latter figure is 1 percent above average for April 1.

Last year the snow depth was 76 inches, the water content 27.7.

In general, the snowpack is most prodigious at the higher elevations. That's reason for optimism because that's the snow that melts latest, and is most crucial for maintaining the late summer water supply.

The burgeoning snowpack in the high mountains more than offsets the situation lower on the slopes, where the water content is well below average in some places. That's not so vital because even in years such as 2011, when those lower-elevation sites had considerably more snow in early April, the snow has melted well before Memorial Day.