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Pacific Northwest DEWS Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar: August 28, 2023

Event Date
August 28, 2023
Event Time
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

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 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: Britt Parker | NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), CU Boulder/Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)



Climate Recap and Current Conditions

Speaker: Joe Casola | NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

  • Drought conditions have grown more severe since June.
  • May–August was warm; more locations are dry than wet.
  • A Warm May created a “run on the (snowpack) bank,” leading to:
    • Low June/July/August streamflow
    • Low soil moisture
    • Low reservoir storage in drought regions; however, this has improved farther in southern/eastern portions of the Pacific Northwest.



State Condition Update: Washington

Speaker: Nick Bond | Office of the Washington State Climatologist/University of Washington

  • 2023 represents the third year in a row during which the weather of late spring really mattered.
  • Some parts of the state are experiencing impacts comparable to those of 2015 with its record-low snowpack.
  • The final tally is unknown, of course, but the wildfire season is ongoing and freshwater ecosystem impacts are still developing.
  • The timing of the onset of wet weather this fall is apt to be crucial.



State Condition Update: Oregon

Speaker: Larry O’Neill | Oregon Climate Service/Oregon State University

  • Despite the robust snowpack last winter, 51% of Oregon is in some form of drought due to below-average water year precipitation, high evaporation, and lingering water deficits from the previous 3 years.
  • Southeast and south-central Oregon saw drought recovery due to well-above-average snowpack, spring precipitation, and low levels of evaporation.
  • Central Oregon saw only partial drought recovery. This region has been at the epicenter of the current long-term drought cycle.
  • Severe drought developed in northwest Oregon due to very low spring precipitation and high levels of evaporation.



State Condition Update: Idaho

 Speaker: David Hoekema | Idaho Water Resources Department

  • Idaho has seen drought recovery in the south and drought development in the north.
  • The south recovered due to cooler and wetter spring weather.
  • This year, we have seen constant snowpack development in the south rather than the long dry spells as seen in 2021 and 2022.
  • Incredible August precipitation in the mountains has decreased late season irrigation demand and provided record-setting streamflow responses in the Central Mountains.



Seasonal Conditions & Climate Outlook

Speaker: Joe Casola | NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

  • The Climate Prediction Center’s 8–-14 day outlook shows elevated chances of cooler and wetter than normal conditions across the region.
  • Monthly and seasonal outlooks: Drought us likely to continue, and fire potential remains.
  • El Niño conditions are present and are predicted to continue through the winter.



Conclusion and Q&A

Speaker: Britt Parker, NOAA/NIDIS, CU Boulder/CIRES