Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityWater year, snowpack check and how our upcoming pattern could favor more precipitation | KPIC
Close Alert

Water year, snowpack check and how our upcoming pattern could favor more precipitation

(PHOTO: Webcam from National Park Service at Crater Lake National Park, February 8 2023.)
(PHOTO: Webcam from National Park Service at Crater Lake National Park, February 8 2023.)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

We are about halfway through the rainy season for our area and we're doing okay on rain and snow totals, but it could be much better. That being said, we have about three more months of the rainy season to go before the dry and hot month of July returns and the pattern this February may be in our favor.

While we started great for rain and snowfall amounts in November and December, precipitation totals have lagged in January and the first half of February.

For example, Klamath Falls started 2023 off with a surplus of rain, and snowpacks for the Klamath Basin were running over 150 percent of normal.

Now, Klamath Falls and other towns like Medford in Southern Oregon are lagging about 1 to 3 inches below normal for the start of February.

It's not that we haven't had active weather. All of Southern Oregon has seen at least some form of measurable rain (.01-inches) every week since the start of the new year.

We have also maintained relatively cold temperatures this winter while our friends on the east coast have baked in record-high temperatures.

This element has prevented significant melting of our snowpack. Despite the lack of stronger storms, Crater Lake National Park has maintained 80 inches of snow since mid-January, which is still slightly above average.

So what gives? We've seen precipitation in Southern Oregon, but the heavier stuff has been focused across Northern and Central California where the Trinity-Sierra snowpack this week has reached levels near 243 percent of the normal snowpack at the end of the season.

This is because our storm track right along the jet stream has been aimed toward California rather than the Pacific Northwest.

While Portland and Eugene have had many more wet days than Southern Oregon, it's the entire Pacific Northwest this January that has been shunned from heavier precipitation. Much of the Pacific Northwest is only averaging between 2 and 50 percent of normal precipitation.

So is there any relief that we will see a return of a favorable storm track? The answer is simply yes, but it may take a little time.

Long-term weather models that we use for forecasting are finally in agreement that changes could come our way as early as next week.

Colder air is expected to pull out of Canada by Monday, and this will push the jet stream, which serves as our storm track for low-pressure systems much farther south and right over Oregon. At this point, the jet stream appears to fluctuate between southern Washington and Southern Oregon giving pretty much everyone in the Pacific Northwest a chance at some widespread, heavier precipitation.

This cold air appears to make its way pretty far south week as well. Meaning snow levels could drop to as low as 1500 feet by next Tuesday. Cold air will have to meet up perfectly with moisture and that could be the case as we approach Valentine's Day.

Before we get to this colder and more active pattern, temperatures are still expected to warm to spring-like conditions on Thursday. Areas like Medford and Yreka could easily hit 65 degrees, but it doesn't last for long.

Even by Friday with a weaker cold front, temperatures start their tumble and by Valentine's Day, most will struggle to get out of the 30s.

Comment bubble

So while snowpack numbers and water year amounts don't exactly look 'appealing,' we are only halfway through the rainy season and our upcoming pattern looks very promising to add to those numbers.

Loading ...