Are We In A Drought? No, Not Yet

October 2, 2012

I got this amusing note from a viewer yesterday, it’ll definitely go in the FUN, WEIRD, & MEAN EMAILS section up above.  The underlined parts are my emphasis:

—–Original Message—–

Sent: Monday, October 01, 2012 6:07 PM
To: fox12news; webstaff
Subject: FOX 12 Feedback
Date: 10/01/2012
Time: 09:06:37 PM ET
Form Name: Email Us

First Name: Robert
Last Name: XXXXX 

Mark is still saying we are not in a drought. I have to disagree with him again based on the plants, the ground, the sky and the amount of rain the last 3 months. We may not be in an extended drought yet but we are in the beginning of a drought. Mark keeps going back to the wet spring but that water is now gone. A hydrologist was speaking on the radio today that due to how dry the ground is at this time if there is only average snowpack this winter there could be problems next summer with the lack of snowmelt run off as before there is any run off the dry ground will need to be saturated and at this point the ground is very dry. Please have Mark go outside and observe the sky, the plants, the ground, etc. The NW needs rain and it needs it now. Hopefully Mark will look into this more and admit that rain is needed. Humility is a virtue. Pride goeth before the fall.”

The answer?  No, we are not in a drought, unless Fall stays dry and we go into winter dry…but that’s a long ways away.  Take a look at the official USDA Drought Monitor info:

Only in the past two weeks have we seen “abnormally dry” conditions try to creep into Western Oregon.  The only part of Oregon in drought conditions is from Deschutes County down to the south Cascades and east to the southern part of the Blue Mountains.


1.  We had a big snowpack last winter and spring, reservoirs were all full through early summer.

2.  Early summer was wet…remember June?  A real soaker.

IF we would have seen a dry and mild spring, then we probably would be in drought conditions now, but we didn’t, so we aren’t. 

Now this doesn’t mean your plants and small trees aren’t stressed.  You should still be watering them until mid October, then most of them should be starting to go dormant anyway.  Plus most likely some rain will be on the horizon by then.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Climate Change Forum Saturday

October 2, 2012

Organizers asked me to pass this along.  Our Oregon AMS Chapter has helped sponsor this event:

Climate Change Forum Planned at Marylhurst

MarylhurstUniversity will co-sponsor and host a daylong forum that explores global climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective Saturday, October 6.

The event is free and open to the public, and will feature an extraordinary array of presentations and conversations on climate change from local and national experts. Co-sponsors include the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Columbia Weather Systems and the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society. Several Marylhurst organizations also are involved, including the university’s Net Impact chapter, the Marylhurst University Sustainability Advisory Council and the Department of Science & Mathematics.

Keynote speaker is Anthony Strawa, a microphysicist at NASA’s AmesResearchCenter in California’s Silicon Valley and a member of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change. He’ll open the conference shortly after 10 a.m. with a presentation entitled “Science, Spirituality and the Work Ahead,” and also speak in the afternoon session about the Catholic position on climate change.

“There are a lot of questions about the models used to predict climate change, so that’s why the first half of the day is devoted to the science of global warming,” said Greg Dardis, interim chair of Marylhurst’s Department of Science & Mathematics. “But climate change also has moral implications. It drives public policy, influences health policies and has real effects on our economy. To have a comprehensive conversation about the impact of climate change, you have to talk about social justice issues, and we’ll spend a whole afternoon at the forum doing that.”

In addition to Strawa, presenters will include Washington state climatologist Nicholas Bond and Andy Harris of the OregonHealth & ScienceUniversityMedicalSchool. Other speakers from OregonStateUniversity will address topics ranging from climate change models to resiliency needed in coastal communities.

For information, contact Greg Dardis at

Contact: Department of Science & Mathematics 503.699.6246