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The drought emergency in Klamath County could just be the start of a hot, dry summer statewide.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Ochoco Reservoir in Central Oregon already was getting empty last summer, due to poor snowmelt runoff.More than three-fourths of Oregon is in some stage of drought entering May — and forecasters expect it to stay that way into the summer.

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center projects drought will persist across Southern, Central and Eastern Oregon and even the Willamette Valley throughout the summer. The center's latest monthly drought outlook released Friday, April 30, also shows drought is likely to develop in the northeast corner of the state.

"Drought varies from year to year in its coverage and severity," said Brad Pugh, a meteorologist with the Climate Prediction Center. "But during the past decade, across the Western U.S., drought has become more common and more intense as well."

Oregon saw little precipitation through March and April of this year, and once-promising snowpack levels have plummeted during an unseasonably warm, dry start to spring.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of Pamplin Media Group. Find the full OPB story here.


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