drought

Smoke from wildfires in the Northwest stream in this photo taken from the International Space Station.
NASA

Marcie Sillman speaks with Sarah Mirk, online editor for Bitch Media, about what Portlanders are doing in response to Oregon's drought. (Hint: not much.)

This is the second story in our two-part series on how drought and climate change are changing the way the Northwest looks to reservoirs to meet its water needs. Read part one here.

This summer’s hot, dry weather has left Northwest apple growers hurting for water to irrigate their orchards. It’s a hint at what’s predicted as the climate continues to warm.

The giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevada are one of America's treasures, but for the first time in Sequoia National Park's history, the trees are showing visible signs of exhaustion due to the drought.

On a hike last summer, a scientist noticed that the needles of the giant sequoias were browning and more sparse than usual. This finding got ecologists thinking: Did the drought cause this?

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Parks and Recreation superintendent Jesús Aguirre about how the city is cutting back on water use to help head off a water shortage.

Ross Dam on the Skagit River is one of Seattle City Light's major power generation sites.
Seattle City Light

Seattle’s electric utility says it's taking a big financial hit because of the weather: The lack of rain has affected its ability to produce surplus power to sell in the open market.

Its revenue from selling that surplus is down more than 40 percent, KUOW has learned.

'The Blog' is indicated by dark orange on the West Coast of the U.S. The Blob is a patch of warm water that was detected by a University of Washington climatologist in 2013.
Courtesy of Nick Bond

Call it “The Blob.”

It’s an unusually warm patch of water off the West Coast that has flummoxed climatologists.

“It’s still rearing its ugly head,” said Nick Bond, Washington state climatologist and regular contributor to KUOW. He first detected The Blob in 2013. 

sprinkler lawn water
Flickr Photo/Amanda Graham (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

Residents of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett are being asked to cut back on their use of water by 10 percent.

That’s because the summer’s historic high temperatures and lack of precipitation have worsened the region’s water supply outlook. In addition, water supply managers are worried about forecasts for drier than normal conditions this fall.

When it comes to watering your lawn during drought and wildfire season, what’s the sweet spot between water conservation and fire hazard?

As drought conditions worsen across the state, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order Tuesday to help conserve water.

We're not that emerald of a city anymore with the recent drought conditions.
Flickr Photo/Jeff Youngstrom (CC BY NC 2.0)

Extremely dry weather and rising use have got the Puget Sound region’s cities thinking seriously about a water shortage later this year.

Seattle, Tacoma and Everett said Monday that they're activating the first stage of water shortage response plans.

Distressed Trees Prompt Early Watering Reminder

Jul 24, 2015

With high temperatures around state, the Oregon Department of Forestry is reminding people to water their trees.

Signs of distressed trees include leaves that are curling, wilting or appear scorched.

Cynthia Orlando, an ODF spokesperson, said deep watering is essential.

"Using a soaker hose and letting the water get down deep on all sides of the tree so that it soaks all the way down into the soil," she said. Additionally, she recommended putting out mulch to help retain moisture and maintain soil temperatures.

Farms and fish aren’t the only ones suffering from Northwest drought conditions. So are trees and plants on Washington’s 435-acre Capitol campus.

Washington is getting less rain than Phoenix, Arizona, state Ecology Danager Maia Bellon said during a press conference in Lacey Friday.

Oregon and Washington officials are curtailing fishing starting Saturday on many of the states' rivers in hope of helping salmon, trout and steelhead survive drought conditions.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is imposing restrictions on 30 of the state's rivers. On some waterways it will be a complete closures; on others the prohibition takes effect from 2 p.m. until midnight.

The hottest June on record for Oregon and Washington came on the heels an unusually warm winter and spring. Now, Northwest rivers are running at or near all-time lows and cities with water reserves are drawing them down.

Some towns have already issued water advisories and asked residents to cut back voluntarily. Even the cities with lots of water, like Portland and Seattle, are finding they have less to work with.

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