At the beginning of each month in winter, the Natural Resources Conservation Service produces a report on snowpack conditions across Oregon, predicting how the water content in mountain snow may translate into streamflows during the spring and summer. More than 50-80% of the water supply around the West starts out as snow, so those in agriculture, recreation, flood management and hydropower generation use the data for planning.
Central Oregon is experiencing a water crisis. Despite intermittent years of good snowfall, Central Oregon has been in some level of drought for more than 20 years. As we reach the middle of winter we should all be concerned. Local reservoirs and lakes, not just Wickiup, are at historic lows for this time of year. It is unlikely they will fill. Rivers are at extreme lows as well.
The current dry spell is likely to end soon but Oregon will need a lot of rain to help it recover after two years of drought.
Get close to the Deschutes River and it can be loud, cascading across rocks and logs. But the river has no voice of its own. And that is what makes the Deschutes River Conservancy critical. The DRC, as it is known, is not a purely conservationist or environmental viewpoint. It’s not the mouthpiece of the basin’s irrigation districts. It’s not a tool of governments or recreationists.
Exclusive: Experts say the term ‘drought’ may be insufficient to capture what is happening in the West
As the American West continues into its 22nd year of a parching megadrought, officials at the federal government’s top water resource management agency are trying to plan for an uncertain and unprecedented time for the nation’s largest reservoirs.
Dwindling snowpack in the Cascades is starting to raise alarms that Bend and other Central Oregon cities are headed for a fourth straight year of drought. After a burst of snowfall slammed Central Oregon in late December and early January, snowpack levels surged to 130% of average. Dry and warm temperatures since those storms have erased much of those gains.
The drought that has parched California and the American West for much of the past two decades ranks as the driest 22-year period in at least 1,200 years, according to a new study published Monday.
Early last fall seasonal forecasters were eyeing changes taking place in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Sea surface temperatures there were trending lower, a sign that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was likely transitioning to its cool phase, paving the way for the second appearance of La Niña in as many years. Sure enough, in October she arrived for a repeat engagement to once again orchestrate global weather patterns.
By SETH BORENSTEIN (AP Science Writer) The American West’s megadrought deepened so much last year that it is now the driest in at least 1,200 years and is a worst-case climate change scenario playing out live, a…