ODF Hoping for Snow; NWS Says Snowpack at 60-70 Percent

Rain is always welcome, but it runs off into lakes and streams. Snow slowly seeps into the ground, large trees, branches, and fuel for wildfires.

Posted: Feb 14, 2019 6:54 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 10:43 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Snow is better than rain. That’s what the Oregon Department of Forestry says when it comes to hampering fire season.

“Snow up to the mid- to higher elevations ... saturates the dead downed wood: the treetops, the big branches," Brian Ballou, Public Information Officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon Division said. 

Rain is always welcome, but it runs off into lakes and streams. Snow slowly seeps into the ground, large trees, branches, and fuel for wildfires.

“If you have a real lean snow year, that stuff may not get completely saturated, so it dries out quickly,” Ballou said.

He says if that's the case: "We'll likely have larger fires earlier in the summer and it becomes a worse problem as the summer goes on." 

The Medford region is about 1.5 inches above average so far when it comes to rain. But the Southern Oregon snow pack is only at 60 - 70 percent on average.

That’s especially a problem for the Klamath Basin.

“They rely more on well water and the rivers," Spencer Higginson, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service, said. "They need the snow pack and the rainfall even more than we do." 

To get your most up-to-date forecast, head to our weather page. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 397421

Reported Deaths: 5299
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61160856
Washington42725408
Marion40378520
Clackamas33323391
Lane30531364
Jackson25267363
Deschutes24034198
Umatilla15178184
Linn15004184
Douglas13635295
Josephine10388249
Yamhill9916145
Klamath9144153
Polk8384103
Benton624440
Malheur594093
Coos5854109
Columbia442156
Jefferson427268
Lincoln369155
Crook345558
Union341857
Wasco320747
Clatsop265835
Baker223133
Tillamook220646
Hood River218637
Morrow198925
Curry194639
Harney121933
Grant109216
Lake106418
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5128725

Reported Deaths: 74953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153845127262
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3370455783
Sacramento1699162462
Kern1590231841
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241514
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus923321436
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511315
Shasta26353465
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
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Tehama10329133
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Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793980
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163818
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 42°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 43°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 42°
Grants Pass
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 42°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 33°
Colder tomorrow with more showers, snowy Cascade passes
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