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Daffodils are illuminated in the morning snow along SW Shevlin Hixon Drive on Monday in Bend. Parts of Bend saw several inches of snow Monday morning, and more snow is expected Tuesday. 

Measurable snowfall blanketed parts of southern and western Deschutes County on Monday, delighting skiers and Cascade snowpack watchers.

The winter storm that arrived in the early hours of Monday and into midmorning brought 9 inches of snow to the base area of Mt. Bachelor ski area and 6.5 inches of snow to Sunriver.

Snow was patchy in Bend, with western and southern neighborhoods getting around 2 inches of snow but no accumulation in eastern parts of the city. The snowfall did not reach Redmond Airport, which was clear on Monday at midday.

The snow is a welcome sight in Central Oregon, which is enduring severe drought and a lackluster winter in terms of snowfall. Significant snowfall did not occur in Bend until late December, and after a burst of snow in early January, winter was mostly snow-free in the city.

Historically, Bend measures 1.2 inches of snow on average in April, according to data provided by Larry O’Neill, an associate professor in the Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

O’Neill’s data shows that the latest date of measurable snow in Bend occurred on May 23, 1953, when the city saw an inch of snow. The record snowfall for April occurred in 1967 when the city had 23.7 inches of snow.

Snowpack and precipitation numbers are still below average for the year but steadily increasing. On March 30 snowpack in the Upper Deschutes Basin was 54% of average. As of Monday, snowpack had increased to 67% of average and is expected to rise over the coming days as numbers are recorded.

Precipitation for the water year — October through September — hasn’t changed significantly. On March 30 it was 81% of normal and as of Monday, precipitation totals had risen to just 83% of normal.

The National Weather Service office in Pendleton reports that winter weather is expected to continue through Tuesday. The east slopes of the Oregon Cascades are expected to receive 10 to 24 inches of snowfall from the storm. Winter weather advisories are out for most of the Oregon and Washington Cascades through Tuesday night.

Strong winds up to 40 mph are also expected at times, which will cause blowing and drifting snow. The National Weather Service recommends checking road conditions before traveling and allowing extra time to reach destinations.

The weather service expects temperatures in Bend to dip to 23 degrees overnight before sunrise on Tuesday, with around an inch of snow expected. Precipitation is more likely in the latter part of the day, according to the National Weather Forecast.

Since this week’s cold weather is coming later than usual, those experiencing homelessness will have few of the normal options available for sheltering from the elements.

Most of the seasonal warming shelters in Central Oregon ended their operations on March 15 and don’t have the capacity to reopen this week.

Shepherd’s House, which operated overnight shelters in Redmond all winter in several churches, doesn’t have plans to open emergency shelters this week, according to Andrew Hoeksema, the nonprofit’s Redmond director.

“Unfortunately we don’t currently have any additional plans for a warming shelter in Redmond,” Hoeksema said, noting the cold weather highlights the need for additional year-round shelter. “We are grateful to host the cold weather shelter in partnership with local churches from Nov. 15 to March 15.”

Hoeksema noted that Shepherd’s House has plans for increased resources in future winters, with both a navigation center in Bend and overnight shelter in Redmond currently in the works.

The nonprofit’s year-round overnight shelter on Second Street in Bend remains open this week. Leaders of the shelter at The Door in La Pine are hoping to reopen this week, but hadn’t settled on solid plans to do so as of midday Monday, according to Chad Carpenter, the church’s pastor.

Bulletin reporter Zack Demars contributed to this report.

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Reporter: 541-617-7818, mkohn@bendbulletin.com

Michael Kohn has been public lands and environment reporter with The Bulletin since 2019. He enjoys hiking in the hills and forests near Bend with his family and exploring the state of Oregon.

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