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Pacific Northwest DEWS Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar: June 26, 2023

Event Date
June 26, 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: Morgan Lawrence | USDA Northwest Climate Hub



Climate Recap and Current Conditions

Speaker: Karin Bumbaco | Office of the Washington State Climatologist, University of Washington

  • Water year temperatures are below normal for a majority of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Water year precipitation is below normal for most of Washington, northwestern and northern Oregon, the Idaho panhandle, and northwestern Montana—and above normal elsewhere.
  • May was warm across the Pacific Northwest, bringing on rapid snowmelt and causing high streamflows.
  • Recent dry conditions have deteriorated rain-dominated streamflows across Washington, northwestern Oregon, the Idaho panhandle, and northwestern Montana.
  • Drought depiction is worsening in those areas, with drought impacts emerging in Washington already.



Seasonal Conditions & Climate Outlook

Speaker: Ed Townsend | NWS Weather Forecast Office, Pendleton, OR

  • 2023 Water Year / Winter Snowpack: Most of the Oregon mountains, southern Washington Cascades, and Idaho mountains saw average to above average snow water equivalent this winter, though snow melted out early in Washington and northern Idaho.
  • 8–14 Day Outlook: Warm and dry, though a small tilt towards being wet in eastern Idaho and western Montana.
  • July-August-September Outlook: Warm with equal chances for below-, near-, or above-average precipitation, except leaning dry across the Pacific Northwest coast.
  • Drought: Persisting where present, with drought development likely across western Washington and northwestern Oregon.
  • Fire Danger: Above-normal significant fire potential present across Washington, and much of Oregon (except the southwest and northeast) and Idaho (except in the east).
  • El Niño: El Niño is observed with El Niño conditions expected to continue through winter 2023–2024.



Weakened Orographic Influence on Cool-Season Precipitation in Simulations of Future Warming Over the Western U.S.

Speaker: Matthew Koszuta | Oregon State University

  • Study authors: Matthew Koszuta, Nick Siler, L. Ruby Leung, and Justin J. Wettstein. 
  • The pseudo-global warming (PGW) simulations show a general weakening of orographic influence on cool-season (October–March) precipitation (P), consistent with previous studies of the western U.S.
  • Our proposed model predicts the pattern of precipitation sensitivity (⍺) quite well given the simple nature. Precipitation sensitivity (⍺) is the percent change in cool-season precipitation per degree of regional warming.
    • This model has the potential to use global climate model (GCM) output and a high-resolution precipitation dataset to quickly predict a high-resolution pattern of ⍺ without the need for computationally expensive downscaling.
  • The influence of orography on precipitation is weakened under warming.
  • For more information, contact Matthew Koszuta,



Demo: Newly Expanded State Pages

 Speaker: NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), CU Boulder/CIRES

  • In April, NIDIS launched updated and expanded state pages on, in collaboration with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and state partners.
  • Key features:
    • New interactive maps featuring key drought indicators, outlooks/forecasts, and historical information at the state level, with easy access to county-level data
    • Customization & sharing options for every map – just click the download icon in the top left corner of any map to customize the display, compare drought & climate data, and download high-quality map images.
    • Highlighted state government drought resources
    • Resources to stay up to date on local drought information
  • Explore state pages in the Pacific Northwest: Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana.
  • Questions or feedback? Email



Conclusion and Q&A

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