PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After nearly two years of “exceptional” drought levels in parts of Crook County, officials operating the U.S. Drought monitor have reduced the region’s conditions to the less-severe “extreme” drought stage.
The change also marks the first time that the state of Oregon has been without some form of “exceptional” drought since March of 2021. In the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor summary, officials said that the reduced conditions in Crook County and across the West were made possible by the recent wave of storms that have created record or near-record snowpack levels in the Southern Cascades, the Sierra Nevadas, the Eastern Great Basin, the Wasatch and Uintas Ranges, and the Southern and Central Rockies.
Watch a time-lapse of Oregon’s drought conditions from March 30, 2021, to April 4, 2023, in the video player above
“This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw continued widespread improvements on the map across areas of the western U.S. including in California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah,” the weekly update states. “This week’s improvements reflected the impact of the recent storm events which continued to boost mountain snowpack levels.
The Western U.S. has seen a 42% drop in drought conditions since Oct. 1. At the start of the wet season, 73% of the region was considered to be in some stage of drought. Following the latest round of storms, that number has dropped to 31%.
More drought-quenching weather is washing over Oregon and Washington this week as an atmospheric river actively funnels additional rain and snow into the region.
While Easter Sunday was initially forecast to see near 70-degree temperatures, KOIN 6 Meteorologist Kelley Bayern reports that this week’s mildest weather is now forecast for Saturday, when little to no rain and 60-degree temperatures will be possible.
“Saturday will be the nicest day of the next handful, so make sure to get outside then,” Bayern said. “Easter Sunday’s forecast is tricky as we await the arrival of another atmospheric river. Right now, Easter morning is looking dry. Showers begin to trickle in throughout the day with soggier conditions by the evening. If you’re planning any outdoor Easter activities, the morning will be your best bet for dry weather.”