By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington, & Yamhill Counties
We’ve discussed ongoing drought stress a number of times on this blog. But when do we consider it dry enough to be called a drought? There’s actually a system for that. The United States Drought Monitor updates and releases a national map each week, showing which areas of the country are experiencing drought, and how extreme the conditions are. A variety of data sources go into their models, which I won’t begin to explain here, but their website has a lot of good information on how they determine drought conditions. In fact, all the data and visual tools on the Drought Monitor website feed the data geek in me; so if you like this sort of thing I encourage you to check it out.
If it seems like this blog has been a broken record stuck on the drought track the last few years, you’re not imagining things. But today, I want to highlight that in northwest Oregon we begin 2019 in a state of Moderate Drought, according to the Drought Monitor (see figure below; click to enlarge), even though we are in the midst of the rainy season. Continue reading