Alarmed by the snow dumping on Portland this week?
Don't complain: Oregon needs this.
The state has seen a mild and dry winter—leaving the Cascade mountains with a much smaller snowpack than it collected last year.
Maps compiled by the National Water and Climate Center show the "snow water equivalent" in the Willamette Valley is around 122.5 inches—43 percent of what it normally is. It's also much less than last year, when the SWE in the Willamette Valley was around 324.7 inches—143 percent of normal.
That meager snowpack could have lasting implications, says Evan Bentley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
"Most of the reservoirs that provide water to the population of western Oregon are filled primarily from winter rain and snow melt," he says. "In particularly meager years, drought and water availability can be concerns."
But don't start fretting about wildfires just yet. Bentley says unrelated weather patterns, not the snowpack, have the biggest effect on fire danger.
Here's a look at the wimpy snowpack around the state: