Tollgate Snow

Snow covers the Tollgate Store Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, as a snowstorm blows through the Weston Mountain region in Umatilla County. The Oregon Basin Outlook Report for December 2021 shows the snowpack for the Umatilla, Walla Walla and Willow basins was 111% of the median.

After a relatively warm fall, colder temperatures are having a restorative effect on the snowpacks that feed the basins that supply water to Umatilla and Morrow counties.

In its monthly Oregon Basin Outlook Report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service reported recorded snowpack levels for the Umatilla, Walla Walla and Willow basins. As of Jan. 1, the three basins’ snowpack was 111% of the median, jumping up from 30% the month before.

December precipitation remained strong, the USDA reporting it 124% of normal for the basins, an increase from 103% the month before. But reservoir storage remains below their normal levels: McKay Reservoir was 66% of the median and Cold Springs Reservoir was 47%

These totals do not include the several snow storms that hit the region after New Year’s Day, which coated many areas with several inches of snow.

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