PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Drought conditions continue to improve in Central and Eastern Oregon, but experts say the region needs consistent, long-term precipitation to avoid ongoing drought troubles. 

The Willamette Valley and much of Western Oregon, meanwhile, received enough recent precipitation to either be deemed drought-free or switched from a state of “moderate” drought to “abnormally dry” conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“Due to recent precipitation and large snowpack and lessening long-term precipitation deficits, ‘moderate’ drought and ‘abnormal dryness’ lessened in coverage in Western Oregon,” the U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest national drought summary states.

Before and after: A comparison of Oregon’s drought conditions on March 21 (left) and March 28 (right). Drought conditions: None (blank), yellow (abnormally dry), tan (moderate drought), orange (severe drought), red (extreme drought), dark red (exceptional drought). (Courtesy: U.S. Drought Monitor)

To the east, areas of Grant, Harney, Klamath Lake and Malheur Counties all saw notable drought improvement this week. National Weather Service Hydrologist Andy Bryant told KOIN 6 News that the momentary precipitation is helpful.

However, much of the region is still suffering from multiple years of below-average levels of rain and snow.

“There are still deficits across much of the state, but the recent precipitation helps,” Bryant said.  “We continue to build snowpack at higher elevations statewide. Those are the primary reasons for recent improvements in the drought depiction.”

With more rain and snow in Oregon’s forecast, Bryant said that the state could see more drought improvement ahead of the summer season.

“It looks like continued wet and cool conditions for the next couple weeks,” Bryant said. “So, additional improvements for the drought monitor may be around the corner.”