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Oregon's drought picture not improving

By John Hendricks
Published On: Jan 31 2014 01:28:55 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 05:29:14 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports on the latest snow pack numbers on the High Desert.

BEND, Ore. -

A new report out Thursday shows Oregon's drought is worsening, and the forecast over the next week won't be helping out.

The latest data released by the National Weather Service shows much of the state in severe to moderate drought.

"We haven't seen this severe (dry conditions) in a number of years," said Rachel Trimarco, a forecaster with the NWS in Pendleton.

Trimarco told NewsChannel 21 Thursday it's still too early to say how bad the drought will be or last.

"Temperatures have been near normal through this winter. It's just that we have been very low on the precipitation," Trimarco said.

The latest snowpack data from automated telemetry shows the Upper Deschutes and Crooked River Basin at just 32 percent of normal.

The numbers near Santiam Pass show how bleak the situation is. At Hogg Pass (Hogg Rock), the snowpack is 35 percent of normal.

A few miles to the west, at the Santiam Junction site, it's worse: just 8 percent of normal.

"We're only at the end of January, so more snow is not out of the question," Trimarco said. "We can still get decent snows all the way into May."

But it will take a lot of late-winter snow to get the snowpack -- and the future water supply -- back even close to normal..

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