Global Weirding

The weather has been hitting us with record-breaking warm and dry temperatures recently. It would be nice to greet the recently blooming flowers with joy, but there’s reason for trepidation. These warm, dry days mean, as Julie Koeberle, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Services puts it, that “the snow has been elusive.”

Overall, the state snowpack is below normal, Koeberle says in a NRCS video viewable at The “water year” started Oct. 1 and has us at near average, but the precipitation has mainly fallen in the form of rain, and January has been dry, she says.

Last year at this time in western and parts of southwest Oregon, we were setting records for low snowpack, and now Koeberle says we are replacing those records.

There’s still time for improvement, she says, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for a warm and dry El Niño year. NRCS is encouraging water users to “proceed with caution” and brace for low water supplies if February remains dry.

This forecast doesn’t just worry the farmers in dryer parts of Oregon who rely on the snowpack for irrigation. Warming temps affect beer drinkers, too. On Feb. 26, the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History is hosting “Craft Beer + Climate,” a beer tasting of local craft brews, dinner and a talk featuring Oregon State University hops expert Shaun Townsend.

The event will encourage “a needed dialogue about climate trends and our collective future,” according to Ann Craig, director of public programs at the museum.

“Craft Beer + Climate” will take place from 5 to 8 pm in the Lee Barlow Giustina Ballroom, Ford Alumni Center, 1720 E. 13th Ave. Seating is limited. Advance reservations are required. The deadline is Feb. 18. Go to for tickets, $45 for museum members and $55 for the public.