Snowpack is average at start of spring

As is typical for the Cascades, the first official days of spring were met with cold, wet and windy weather that brought quite a bit of fresh snow to the mountains. Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort announced 44 inches of new snow last week as it prepared for a busy schedule of spring break activities and operations. The resort’s 117-inch base (as of Monday) ensures a quality late season with plenty of opportunity for skiing and snowboarding in T-shirts and sunglasses.

Among the long list of spring activities at Mt. Hood Meadows, a few to add to your calendar are (a full list and more details can be found at

n April 6, Full Sail Banked Slalom: Open to skiers and snowboarders (120 people maximum), this downhill slalom race takes place on a course of high banked curves and steep turns.

Across Oregon

(Snow Water Equivalent

percent of normal)

Hood/Sandy/Deschutes: 106%

John Day: 79%

Willamette: 105%

Rogue/Umpqua: 79%

Malheur: 55%

n April 7: Hood River Appreciation Day: This third-annual event runs all day in the Hood River Meadows parking area and will entail live music, raffles, food, beer and more.

n April 13: Ski To Defeat ALS: This event raises money for the ALS Association Oregon and Washington Chapter. Participants can do as many runs as they want and people with ALS are encouraged to participate.

n April 27: Sno-Kona Pond Skim: As much fun to watch as it is to participate in, this pond skim event is a crowd favorite at the resort’s base area. Skiers and snowboarders dress in elaborate costumes and launch themselves across a 90-foot-long ice-cold pond in hopes of winning a free trip for two to Hawaii.

In addition to pleasing mountain enthusiasts, last week’s storms added valuable inches to the snowpack, which feeds river, streams and reservoirs used for summer irrigation throughout the valley. The National Resource Conservation Service tracks snowpacks across the region, including two sites in Hood River County — one at 5,370 feet on Mount Hood and one at 4,410 feet on Red Hill. The Mount Hood test site is currently 92 percent of average, while the Red Hill site is 94 percent of average. The basin-wide percent is 106 percent of average and includes eight test sites in the Hood, Sandy and lower Deschutes basins.

Across the state, the Hood and the Willamette basins are the only two at or above average this year. Test areas in southern Oregon are far below average, with the Malheur and Owyee areas at 55 and 63 percent of average.

In the greater Columbia Basin, snowpacks are generally at or slightly below average for this time of year. That means Columbia River flow this spring and early summer should stay within the average range, in contrast to recent years that saw unusually high flow last through mid-July due to cold spring temperatures and above average snowpacks stretching from Canada to western Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners