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Drought Lingers In Southern, Central Oregon

BEND, OR-- Following the fourth wettest April to May ever recorded in Oregon, we’re now heading into the dry season. While the precipitation is needed, Climatologist Karen Bumbaco says some crops are now suffering from all that late season rain, "Some of the reports that came out of NASS, such as the US cherry production is down about 21% from 2021, and they were putting that blame on the cold weather we were seeing in spring."

And, the wet spring doesn’t mean we’re done with drought. Dr. Joe Casola, NOAA’s Western Regional Climate Services Director, says central and southern Oregon won’t get enough rain to recover from three years of persistent drought. "Given that the average precipitation for July and August are so little, the numbers that you’d need would be astronomical for, let’s say southern Oregon. The reality is they’re not going to recover from drought this water year." He predicts most of the west will see above average temperatures with below average rainfall this summer, and those dry conditions will increase the risk of wildfire.

Dr. Casola says moisture in western and northern Oregon has helped. "Streams had a lot of drought improvement. However, there is drought persistent in southern parts of Oregon and southern parts of Idaho, and that is anticipated to continue throughout the summertime."


Image courtesy of Dr. Casola, NOAA

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