The mountain snowpack in Northeastern Oregon is still a bit undernourished after a winter that’s featured more famine than feast.
But it’s been adding weight at a healthy rate the past few weeks.
The snowpack — the main source of water for irrigation and recreation during the summer in this arid region — was barely half of average at the start of 2018. As of today the snowpack is about 72 percent of average.
The past few weeks have been especially productive, with a series of major snowstorms dropping two to three feet of snow in the higher elevations of the Elkhorn and Wallowa Mountains.
The water content in the snow at several sites — that’s a more important statistic than snow depth — has risen by more than 25 percent at several sites since mid February.
The Wallowas have fared better overall than the Elkhorns.
Moss Springs, on the western side of the Wallowas above Cove, is the only measuring station in the region where the water content is average. The water content has risen by 7 inches — an increase of almost 50 percent — since Feb. 1.
Schneider Meadows, on the southern side of the Wallowas, has gained 7.6 inches of water content since Feb. 1, jumping from 73 percent of average to 82 percent.
The water content at a few sites in the Elkhorns is less than 65 percent of average.
At Anthony Lakes, however, the water content is 79 percent of average.