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Outdoor report: If you’re an avid outdoors person, this fickle weather doesn’t surprise you

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Picture is my driveway that was plowed yesterday. I don’t recall ever having to blow or blowout the driveway in April… Rob DeHarpport photo
By ROB DEHARPPORT/For The Herald  —  My how quickly things can change. It was only ten days ago I reported on the lack of snowpack and dry weather. Also, I mentioned  how the drought will impact various lakes and early road access within the Highway 58 corridor as we approach the opening of High Cascade Fishing season.

Mark Twain said it right

I’m reminded of a quote by Mark Twain who once said- “In the Spring. I have witnessed 136 different kinds of weather in 24 hours.” Seasoned anglers who frequent our high lakes in early Spring are certainly well aware of how quickly the weather can change.
Here in our area, Mr. Twain’s quote has once again been an accurate statement considering the recent swings in weather that we’ve experienced. As predicted, the Cascades have been hammered or blessed (you choose) with heavy snowfall that began on Sunday, April 10th.
Portland and other low elevation areas also experienced snow with this storm system. Unusual? Certainly. But not unprecedented. Portland measured over a inch of snow in May of 1953, the latest recorded snow in PDX recorded history.

Accurate forecasting is a science

Our weather forecasts have been quite accurate in recent years, although never 100 percent at all times. Pretty darn close, though. The recent forecast predicted one to three feet of snow above 4000′ elevation. Today at my Crescent Lake home we have 14-15″ of fresh powder covering the ground. This only recently became visible due to our fast-melting snowpack.
Picture is of Crescent Creek and the Meadow below my house. Recently mostly free of snow now blanketed by 15″ of fresh powder. Rob DeHarpport photo

 

The official SNOTEL snow gauging station (4900′) at Crescent Lake reports 14″ of new snow. Summit Lake station reports 20″ of new snow. This is an increase to 86″ at 5610′ elevation. It’s good news as any form of moisture is welcome considering the drought that has gripped the western states in recent years.

However, it’s doubtful that this late snowstorm will improve our situation, as our snow pack has dropped to 93% of normal for this time of year according the SNOTEL.

Snow letup on Wednesday?

It’s been snowing and the wind has been howling all day.  The snow continues to fall as I’m writing this at 4:00p.m., April 12th.

Every winter- road closures on the mountain

Earlier today, Highway 58 was closed for some time this morning due to vehicles spinning out and a semi jackknifing and blocking the highway. The closure backed traffic up for 5 miles on both sides of the snarled mess that occurred at milepost 56 below the tunnel. Tickets of up to $880.00 can be issued to tractor trailer combinations not using chains when required.
The forecasts call for several more days of snow. If you must travel over any of our mountains, be prepared and drive safely.
One positive with the late season snowfall will hopefully be a delay in the fire season in our higher elevations. That said, it could still be another long and dangerous fire season in front of us.
Picture of Odell Lake from the docks at Odell Lake Resort a couple of days before the April snowstorm arrived. In ten days, the docks will be active and full of boats and anglers. Rob DeHarpport photo

Fishing season is almost upon us

Fishing season begins in 10 days! General Trout season opens on Friday, April 23rd. As usual, many high elevation campgrounds may remain snowed in and closed.
The road is still gated around Crescent Lake. I had been hoping it would open before this storm hit to hopefully launch my boat at Tranquil Cove. That’s not going to happen any time soon due to this recent storm.
A few folks have been launching boats from the beach at Crescent Lake Resort in the past two weeks. Unfortunately, most have been getting stuck trying to drive out and have needed to be towed out of the sandy lake bottom.
Those who have managed to launch have been catching some nice Lake Trout ( Mackinaw) and German Browns, along with a few nice Rainbow trout.

Other outdoor opportunities abound

Another outdoor opportunity is to travel to Crater Lake National Park, IF road conditions are favorable for traveling. All National Parks will offer free admission on April 16th. Weather permitting, it’s a beautiful time of year to enjoy a snow-covered treasure and experience snowshoeing or cross country skiing.
Snow skiers are welcoming this late storm at many area ski areas. Also, snowmobilers who had mostly resigned that late season riding being done for the year, are getting a lift.
Make the best of whatever the fickle Spring season brings us. Stoke the fireplace, relax and read a good book or get out and enjoy what this winter blast from the north has left us. There are really no bad options when it comes to enjoying our spare time. As they say- “Whatever floats your boat.”
I may fire up the snowmobile one more time for a ride or two and then return to resume preparing for fishing season. The other outdoor projects I had planned on doing before fishing season at my place will have to wait for the snow to melt once again. Cheers!
Rob DeHarpport was a long-term resident and former mayor of Westfir. Rob now lives in the Crescent Lake area and is The Herald’s reporter for the Outdoor Report. Rob DeHarpport photo

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