Drought can be defined in several ways, though it is commonly described as "a long period with no rain, especially during a planting season." Another definition of drought is a deficiency in surface and sub-surface water supplies, and is typically measured in terms of water availability in a defined geographical area. In socioeconomic terms, drought occurs when a physical water shortage begins to affect people, individually and collectively and the area’s economy.
Drought is not uncommon in the State of Oregon, and can occur in all parts of the state, in both summer and winter. The environmental consequences also are far-reaching, particularly here in Clatsop County, where it can produce insect infestations in our forests and a reduction in the stream flows that support endangered fish species. In addition, many of our local water supplies are very local, and drought conditions can greatly affect the supply of water we use every day.
In the summers of 2015 and 2018 Clatsop County experience “Severe Drought” conditions, as defined by the U.S. Drought Monitor index. Though we did not experience the kinds of forest fires that occurred in southern Oregon and northern California, the risk was high and water shortages and restrictions were a real possibility.
Videos and Public Service Announcements
- Droughts 101 (NatGeo)
- For the latest drought announcements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Video highlighting California’s extreme drought in 2014