PENDLETON – The wet winter is a distant memory as months of dry weather have put the word ‘drought’ back in the vocabulary for the Columbia Basin. National Weather Service Meteorologist Camden Plunkett says that drought conditions are expanding across the Blue Mountain foothills in Oregon and Washington and into the basin.
“Most of the region from the Tri-Cities over to the Walla Walla Valley and down to Pendleton is now designated as D1, that’s moderate drought; or D2, severe drought,” Plunkett said. “Most of the area is actually severe drought.”
Plunkett says he’s seen both extremes. He has been with the weather service in Pendleton for three years, and 2021 and 2023 are among the driest on the spectrum. Then, there’s 2022, which was very wet.
“2022 on the other hand was top 10, maybe even top five for Pendleton,” he said. “We haven’t had anything that is what you would call average for the past three years.”