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Despite significant April showers, region remains stuck in drought

OR_DroughtMap2022.png
U.S. Drought Monitor
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U.S. Drought Monitor map of Oregon released on May 5, 2022. The darkest area shows exceptional drought conditions for central Oregon.

This spring has been cool and wet across Oregon, alleviating dry conditions and raising water levels in reservoirs. But this does not end the drought by any stretch.

National Weather Service data shows April’s precipitation for the state was heavy, and for areas like Portland and Eugene, the highest amount since 2019.

Larry O’Neill is an associate professor in Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the state climatologist. He says even with April’s showers, drought conditions are far from over.

“We’ve got a large area in Central Oregon that’s in D4, or "exceptional drought." That’s the worst drought level and reserved only for the most historically significant droughts that we have," said O'Neill.

"And in that place, we would need something like about 200-300% of normal precipitation within the next six months to bring that drought index back into normal category.”

O’Neill said if there’s a good monsoon season later this year, it could help offset some drought conditions. He shared his remarks at an OSU media webinar.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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