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It might not look like it, but we're still in a drought

I’ve lived in the valley for five years, and it seems like we’ve gotten a lot of rain this winter. After moving here from Arizona, it’s been a different experience than I kind of expected. Is this more rain than normal, or should I expect more of this gloomy weather?

— Dan S., Talent

We better hope we get more gloomy weather, Dan. This area is still in a drought and so is much of Oregon.

The National Weather Service in Medford told us that we’ve received 9.15 inches of rain from October 1 until now. October 1 is the start of the “water year” when the rainy season typically begins.

On average we should get 10.93 inches of rain right now, so we’re still shy by 1.87 inches.

Typically, the rainfall, measured at the Medford airport, is 18.35 inches from October 1 until September 30. By that measure, we’ve only seen half the rainfall we should typically receive.

In 2018-19, we received 21.78 inches, a little above normal, but in 2019-20 we only got 12.64 inches.

And in 2017-18, we received 11.47 inches, but the year before, 2016-17, we had the 11th highest amount of precipitation at 25.21 inches.

The most precipitation ever recorded in Medford was 34.47 inches in 1955-56. We should point out that outlying areas typically receive more rainfall than at the airport.

As you can see, Dan, we’ve had some good years and some bad years for precipitation since you moved here, so keep rooting for more rain. Just imagine how beautiful the spring will be after the gloomy winter months come to an end.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.