Lane, Coos and Douglas counties under drought disaster declarations

EUGENE, Ore. - Severe to extreme drought persists across south-central and southeast Oregon, with moderate drought for most of the rest of the state.

Lane, Douglas and Coos counties are all subject to current U.S. Department of Agriculture drought disaster declarations.

The main cause: the much-below-normal snowpack for the 2013/2014 winter and spring, the National Weather Service in Portland said Friday.

Peak snowpack in March for areas of the south Oregon Cascades and southeast mountains was only 15 to 60 percent of average.

Drought conditions are expected to persist or intensify at least through October, especially for the southern half of the state, forecasters said.

State of Oregon drought declarations have already been issued for the Crook, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Malheur and Wheeler counties

U.S. Department of Agriculture drought disaster declarations are in effect for Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane and Malheur counties.

The majority of drought impacts are in the southern half of Oregon, where several reservoirs that support irrigated agriculture have little or no water left to release to downstream irrigators, the Weather Service said.

And forests and rangeland have seen increased fire susceptibility due to long-term dry conditions.

The impact of the drought on agriculture, wildlife and communities will "evolve and change through the summer and fall," the Weather Service said.

The next report on drought conditions is expected September 15.