What a difference a little rain makes — at least in the level and flow of the Willamette River.
All summer and early fall, the view across the river was mostly of a big gravel bar or two. People could wade into almost the middle of the stream without getting their seats wet.
Now, after just seven days of rain, mostly light rain, the river is back to its normal self.
From Oct. 21 through today (Oct. 27), the Hyslop weather station between Albany and Corvallis recorded 1.9 inches of rain. The heaviest total came on the 22nd, when the station recorded three-quarters of an inch over the previous 24 hours. The smallest totals were measured on the 21st and 23rd, just seven one-hundredths of an inch each time.
At the start of the week, the river level on the Albany gauge was 3 feet or thereabouts. The next day it was 4 feet, followed by 5 feet the day after that.
For the last three days, through 5 p.m. today, the level stayed right at 5 feet, and it’s forecast to stay there for the next few days.
There’s nothing overly remarkable about any of that. It happens more or less like this every time the seasons change from summer to fall, though this year the gravel bars appeared to be bigger than in summers past.
We hear a lot about the “climate crisis” and what we must change to adjust. You can find evidence of gradual climate changes all over the place, especially if you look over the last 150 years in western Oregon. But a “crisis”? Not the way we used to understand that term.
And when you look at the river now, “crisis” is not the word that springs to mind. (hh)