In November, we reported on the fact that more than 50% of the state of Oregon was in “severe,” “extreme,” or “exceptional” drought.
This story has barely been mentioned in statewide media.
For the past month, data has been unavailable as the Drought.gov website was offline during the government shutdown.
Now that the site is back online, data shows that nearly 80% of the state is now in “severe” drought condition or worse.
Global warming is hammering the planet.
It has been a “rainless winter,” an extraordinary condition for the Pacific Northwest. This does not bode well. We face an extraordinary fire season, water shortages, and other major issues this summer if major sustained rains do not come.
Our post from November:
The US drought monitor (most recently updated November 13th) shows that 51.9% of Oregon’s land mass is in “severe drought,” with 34.3% in “extreme drought” characterized by major crop/pasture losses, and widespread water shortages or restrictions. This news comes as California battles extreme November wildfires.
Eugene had 15 inches of rain less than normal during the last “water year” (October 1st, 2017 to September 30th, 2018).
As PSMag notes, “The Oregon drought this year is most striking because it covers many coastal areas known historically as some of the wettest in the country… ‘We have a pretty severe drought here in Oregon right now, partially due to the low snowpack last year, which really set the ball into motion,’ said Kathie Dello, associate director of the Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University. ‘Now we’re into the rainy season, and it’s not raining.’ That low snowpack was due, in part, to higher temperatures. Portland, for instance, saw its hottest year in recorded history, with more days above 90 degrees than ever before.”
May through September was the driest period in the Willamette Valley in the historical record. By September, water flow in streams and rivers across Oregon was 55 percent of normal.
It is important to note that this drought pre-dates the coming predicted El Niño, a natural cycle leading to warmer winters. It is expected to continue after the El Niño abates, as well.
Local news completely fails to link this crisis to capitalism and civilization, or even to mention the clear links between modern society, the destruction of the planet, the ultra-wealthy, and climate collapse leading to refugee crises and worse.
Instead, like the dangerous meteorologist and climate minimizer Cliff Mass, they prefer to highlight the “exceptional vintage” the warm fall weather could bring to Oregon wine makers. Fucking clueless.