Water Supply Rebounds Across Most of Northwest After March Storms

By Tom Banse

Irrigators, hydropower dam operators and tugboat captains are sitting pretty across most of the Northwest. That's according to the latest regional water supply forecast, presented today.

A branch of the National Weather Service offers a regional water supply forecast. It's updated monthly. First, the good news. After a slow start to the water year, key Columbia and Snake River drainages are now caught up or even above normal.

Joanne Salerno: "Where we had high amounts of snow last month, we have it this month. That is particularly along the Rockies, Bitterroot Mountains and Upper Snake area."

Portland-based hydrologist Joanne Salerno says this bodes well for farmers, electricity production, navigation and fish migration. On the other hand, she says areas "where we've been very dry, it's still dry." That would include drought stricken southwest Idaho and southern Oregon.

The National Weather Service boosted the spring runoff forecast past Grand Coulee Dam to 104 percent of normal. Lower down the Columbia River at The Dalles Dam, the forecast runoff is 103 percent of normal. Southern Oregon's Rogue River is worst off of our major water arteries. The runoff volume there is projected at around 70 percent of normal.

Northwest River Forecast Center: http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/ws/

April 9, 2014 Water Supply Forecast presentation slides: http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/presentations/html/wy2014_ws/dp.cgi

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