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Pacific Northwest DEWS Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar: April 25, 2022

Event Date
April 25, 2022
Event Time
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

According to the April 19, 2022 U.S. Drought Monitor, 70.2% of the Pacific Northwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) is in drought, with 22.4% of the region in Extreme/Exceptional Drought (D3/D4). While water availability in some areas of Washington and Idaho has improved over the winter months, much of southern and eastern Oregon and portions of Idaho recorded their driest 3-month January-March on record. This webinar provided more information on the current conditions and outlooks, as well as a presentation on "Linking Drought Drivers to Response Strategies: A Montana Application of the EcoDIVA Tool."

These webinars provide the region's stakeholders and interested parties with timely information on current and developing drought conditions, as well as climatic events like El Niño and La Niña. Speakers will also discuss the impacts of these conditions on things such as wildfires, floods, disruption to water supply and ecosystems, as well as impacts to affected industries like agriculture, tourism, and public health.


Webinar Introduction

Speaker: Holly Prendeville, USDA Northwest Climate Hub

  • This bi-monthly webinar is co-hosted by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), USDA Northwest Climate Hub, and Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI).
  • Introduction of today's speakers:
    • Dr. Zachary Hoylman, Montana Climate Office
    • Henry Pai, Northwest River Forecast Center, National Weather Service
    • Kim Hall, The Nature Conservancy
    • Ann Schwend, Montana Department of Natural Resources
  • Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)
  • The Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Climate Resilience Program's 2022 annual funding solicitation is now open.



Climate Recap and Current Conditions

Speaker: Dr. Zachary Hoylman, Montana Climate Office

  • Temperatures: It's been warmer than normal this water year in Montana, Oregon, and Idaho. But...
    • The last 60 days have been well below normal across the entire domain, especially in the eastern portions of the Pacific Northwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS).
  • Precipitation: The water year has been drier than normal in Oregon, central Washington, and central Idaho.
    • In the last 30–60 days, the majority of the region has seen much below normal precipitation, especially in Idaho, western Montana, eastern Oregon, and northeastern Washington.
  • These conditions and recent deficits are contributing to:
    • Reduced soil moisture
    • Reduced streamflow, especially along the Oregon Cascades and southern Idaho
    • Stable (severe to exceptional) drought conditions, which have persisted for many months and are likely to continue unless significant moisture comes this spring.



Pacific Northwest DEWS Forecasts & Outlooks

Speaker: Henry Pai | National Weather Service – Northwest River Forecast Center

  • Multi-year precipitation: The southern domain shows persistent dry conditions.
  • Water supply forecasts for April–September:
    • Near normal for western and central Washington, northern Idaho, and northwestern Montana.
    • Below normal for far eastern Washington, eastern and southwestern Oregon, and southern Idaho.
  • Outlooks: There is a higher probability of lower precipitation and higher temperatures.



Linking Drought Drivers to Response Strategies: A Montana Application of the EcoDIVA Tool

Speakers: Kim Hall, The Nature Conservancy; Ann Schwend, Montana Department of Natural Resources

  • PIs: Shelly Crasubay, Kim Hall, Molly Cross, Jason Dunham.
  • Context: Drought impacts and the patterns of how they arise are changing due to climate change and human land and water use.
  • Goal: Support anticipatory management responses in ways that recognize existing knowledge and constraints.
  • EcoDIVA (Eco Drought Impacts Vulnerability Assessment) Tool: Deploy our ecodrought framework in a visualization tool, using retrospective modeling results to help link impacts to adaptation strategies.
  • Three case study project areas:
    • Upper Missouri Headwaters (MT) - forests
    • Flathead River (MT) – forests & fish
    • Harney River Basin (OR) – wetlands, grazing resources, fish
  • Learn more about this NIDIS-funded Coping with Drought research project.



Conclusion and Q&A

Speaker: Holly Prendeville, USDA Northwest Climate Hub