April 5, 2011 - Sisters Nugget - Snowpack looks good in Sisters Country

May 12, 2011

April 5, 2011 - Sisters Nugget - Snowpack looks good in Sisters Country

Snowpack looks good in Sisters Country

By Jim Cornelius, News Editor

4/5/2011 12:48:00 PM

A chilly, snowy March was annoying to folks in the Sisters Country who are more than ready for a nice, balmy spring. But it was good news for the region's watershed and for the farmers and ranchers who depend on plentiful irrigation water.

According to Kyle Gorman of the Deschutes County Watermaster's Office, the snowpack across the region is at 122 percent of average. At the Sisters Country's only snow measuring station at Three Creeks Meadow, it registered at 142 percent of average.

That means strong flows in Whychus Creek.

"The irrigators are happy," Gorman said. "We've got plenty of water for them."

Gorman sounded one note of caution for locals who head down to Smith Rock State Park looking for some hiking in the sunshine. The Crooked River is flowing very high and he advises people to stay away from the water.

Summertime rafters on the Deschutes won't notice any difference in the river, Gorman said, but reservoirs will be more full than they were last year.

According to preliminary data received by the National Weather Service in Pendleton, temperatures at Sisters averaged slightly colder than normal during the month of March.

The average temperature was 38.1 degrees, which was 0.8 degrees below normal. High temperatures averaged 47.1 degrees, which was 4.6 degrees below normal. The highest was 59 degrees on the 31st. Low temperatures averaged 29 degrees, which was 2.9 degrees above normal. The lowest was 20 degrees, on the 17th.

There were 23 days with the low temperature below 32 degrees.

Precipitation totaled 1.46 inches during March, which was 0.29 inches above normal. Measurable precipitation - at least .01 inch - was received on 10 days with the heaviest, 0.50 inches, reported on March 21.

Precipitation this year has reached 4.32 inches, which is 0.90 inches below normal. Since October, the water year precipitation at Sisters has been 12.29 inches, which is 1.77 inches above normal.

Snowfall totaled two inches with at least one inch of snow reported on two days. The heaviest snowfall was one inch, reported on the 21st. The greatest depth of snow on the ground was five inches on March 1.

The outlook for April from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center calls for below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation. Normal highs for Sisters rise from 56.4 degrees at the start of April to 59.9 degrees at the end of April. Normal lows rise from 27.8 degrees to 29.4 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is

0.89 inches.

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