The rain continues, but will it help the drought conditions?

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Believe it or not, Portland only had five dry days in March, but that’s not enough to help the region break its deep drought.

Although it rained in one form or another for the other 17 days, you might think Portland would exceed our monthly average this month, but the reality is that it didn’t. Most of northwestern Oregon is clinging to it right now. Took some work to get there, with an atmospheric river and a soggy day or two.

However, there is good news: we have already exceeded our spring total from last year, which means that we had more rain in March than we had all together from March to the end of May in 2021. We are on a sneaky rainy spell in Portland right now. We have had a trace of rain or more for 10 days! Some of this rain fell overnight, not disturbing the daily routine much.

Can we sustain the rainy weather this month? The possibility is certainly there as we look at the extended forecast through early next week.

We had two of our wettest days of the year this month. Even with these rainy days, we are only five hundredths above average this month. It took us 17 days of rain to get us on track. This means that we had many days where the rain was lighter. The normal rainfall amount for March 22 is 2.76 inches.

We hope to gain an inch or an inch and a quarter more by the end of the month. That gives us eight more days to work, and right now we have at least two or three more chances of rain by Monday.

However, the forecast calls for no more than a quarter inch of rain through Saturday. We will have to use the last week of March for our last jump to average precipitation for the month.

Our first opportunity for more rain comes on Wednesday. Light showers will start in the morning, with a bit of steady light rain in the afternoon. This period of time in the afternoon and evening will determine our rainfall total for the day. If we end up with just a trace of rain during the evening ride or something really minor, we won’t end the day with a lot of rain. Humidity will also be limited for mountain snow.

It won’t have much of an impact on central Oregon as the mountains will absorb the rest of that moisture today. Wind and clouds will pick up for central Oregon as the main front moves into Wednesday.

Analysis of the surface map below shows the approach of the cold front off the coast of Washington and Oregon at 7 a.m. The front will pass in the afternoon, creating a moment of lift. This action will help form regular rain showers until stable air moves behind in the late evening. You can see that the cloud layer and all the developments involved in this system are tied to this front. Conditions will dry out on Thursday and Friday as the high pressure attempts to move up the west coast. We are expected to stay dry for two days before it rains at the weekend.

It is essential that we avoid a spring 2021 after drought has remained a major issue throughout the winter. Even with improvements in Multnomah County and points west, we have much of the state still suffering. We will discuss this in more detail in April, but we are nearing the end of our snow season. We’re not going to get a ton of fresh snow after early April.

We are then counting on a wet spring to help us move into summer.

Dale D. Schrum