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Jackson, Curry, Klamath counties all under drought emergency declarations

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been ongoing throughout Oregon, drought concerns have been growing in the southwestern state's southern counties.

Posted: May 8, 2020 10:56 AM
Updated: May 8, 2020 11:31 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Multiple southern Oregon counties are under a drought emergency declaration from Governor Kate Brown as of May 8, and more are likely to join them.

So far, Klamath, Jackson, and Curry counties have received the drought declaration from Governor Brown, but Coos County has requested the same. In California, Siskiyou County has also requested a drought emergency declaration from Governor Gavin Newsom.


(Photo courtesy US Geological Survey)

"Drought conditions arrived early and have persisted, including reduced snowpack, precipitation, and subsequent minimal streamflow," Brown's declaration for Jackson County reads. "The long-term forecast for the region continues for warmer than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation. These conditions have had significant economic impact on agriculture, timber, and recreational industries in Jackson County."

While Jackson and Curry counties received their declarations over the past several weeks, Klamath County reached it at the end of February. The scramble for irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake has already inflamed near-yearly conflicts between irrigators, tribes, and the federal government.

"Even under the best of circumstances, water availability is severely limited. If there is not a dramatic reduction in demand, the Project will likely run out of water altogether within the next two months, if not sooner," the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents irrigators in the Klamath Basin, posted on Facebook Thursday. "There are discussions occurring among tribes, agencies and KWUA about how to deal with these issues. Right now, we do not know what decisions will come out of this."

The U.S. Drought Monitor finds extreme drought conditions in western Siskiyou County, southwest Jackson County, most of Josephine County, and northeastern Curry County. 

"Much of the rest of these counties, along with Klamath Counties, are in D2 — severe drought," the National Weather Service says. "As of today, the SWE — snow water equivalent — for the Rogue and Umpqua basins is around 45 percent of normal. The SWE for the Klamath Basin is 34 percent of normal. Much of the precipitation came early in the water year. With above normal temperatures being common through the winter, the snow pack has suffered."

Drought emergency declarations allow local agencies and residents access to resources to help offset the economic impact of the dry conditions — including the possibility of federal disaster loans for farmers and other people that rely on an adequate water supply for their livelihoods.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 155315

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31853528
Washington21170212
Marion18416285
Clackamas13357175
Lane10224126
Jackson8377112
Umatilla765182
Deschutes594659
Yamhill377364
Linn358656
Malheur335058
Polk305342
Klamath278955
Douglas246354
Josephine233750
Benton233516
Jefferson195528
Coos148219
Union128419
Columbia126121
Wasco122126
Lincoln113120
Hood River106829
Morrow104714
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4266
Tillamook4142
Lake3756
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3563578

Reported Deaths: 51953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119089421328
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2862912816
Orange2610223904
San Diego2596413271
Santa Clara1104221777
Kern102627826
Fresno952021443
Sacramento931801472
Alameda804961241
Ventura77534844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus56024946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38922515
San Francisco34213410
Santa Barbara31763409
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28063298
Imperial26888591
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15436209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12816185
Shasta10972174
Butte10941160
El Dorado9095100
Napa901469
Sutter884597
San Benito575959
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada395274
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador345741
Humboldt318033
Lake315341
Glenn222023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
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Hi: 56° Lo: 26°
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Brookings
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Hi: 61° Lo: 30°
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Medford
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Medford
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Klamath Falls
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Very mild start to March
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