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April 14, 2016

Odd weather hard on reservoir operators

  • Early snowmelt in the spring or winter rain instead of snow skews the calculations used to decide when to store and release water.
    Associated Press

    BOISE, Idaho — Wilder swings in weather patterns in the past decade are making it trickier to keep reservoirs filled for irrigation and power generation while also avoiding the risk of flooding homes downstream, some Pacific Northwest reservoir operators say.

    Reservoir management plans that dictate how much water is stored or released are based on decades of weather and snowmelt information. Conditions far outside the norm — such as early snowmelt due to warmth or rain instead of snow during winter — can skew calculations that are used to make water predictions.

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