Though we’ve been experiencing some moderate rain in the valley in the past couple of days, 97% of the state is actually in some level of drought, according to a government report released on Thursday, May 21.
The southwest corner of Oregon has been experiencing an extreme drought (D3) since mid-April, and the Willamette Valley is now experiencing a moderate drought (D1).
This year, every month except for January has had below-normal rainfall – meaning the northwestern part of Oregon is missing about 9.14 inches of rain in total, based on data from previous years. Now, in May, the rainfall amounts have been above-normal.
In recent years, Oregon has generally been experiencing abnormal rainfall. From 2010 to 2014, the PDX area experienced near to well above-normal rainfall, and since 2015, the region has been experiencing below-normal rainfall, with May 2018 being the driest May observed for the region, only reaching .17 inches.
The Climate Prediction Center (NOAA) shows in their long-range forecasts that we, along with the rest of the West Coast, are likely to continue experiencing below-normal rainfall this summer. This raises alarms when in light of fire season and Oregon’s agricultural industry.