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NW Fishletter #367, March 6, 2017

[8] Regional Water-Supply Forecast is Normal and Higher

The April-September water-supply forecast for the northern tier of the Columbia River Basin has increased.

With snowpack having grown in the north during February, predictions are now for normal to slightly above-normal water supply in most of the basin's northern regions, according to the Northwest River Forecast Center.

Southern portions of the basin have been steadily adding snow all winter and are now expected to produce above- to well-above-average water volumes.

The NWRFC also predicted near-normal to slightly-above-normal water-supply conditions west of the Cascade Mountains.

Because numerous river systems in the Cascade Mountains are rain-driven, their volumes will be a little lighter this time of the year, said NWRFC hydrologist Taylor Dixon during a March 2 water-supply briefing.

Dixon said that although the divide between the observed snowpack in the northern and southern portions of the region was still noticeable, it was less so after recent weeks of heavy snowfall in both areas.

The primary forecast drivers were snowpack distribution and the wet and colder-than-normal weather conditions, he said.

Record snowpack, including some at lower elevations, have been documented in the Snake River basin. As temperatures start to warm, well-above-normal runoff is expected in the region's southern tier.

As of March 2, water supply in the upper Columbia River at Grand Coulee Dam was 102 percent of normal, while the Snake River at Lower Granite Dam was at 128 percent of normal, and the Columbia River at The Dalles Dam came in at 107 percent of normal.

Volume forecasts could trend higher, with wet and cold conditions predicted for the next 10 days, Dixon said. -Laura Berg

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NW Fishletter is produced by Energy NewsData.
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Mark Ohrenschall, Editor: Laura Berg
Phone: (206) 285-4848 Fax: (206) 281-8035

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