Drought Officially Returns to Western Washington

From Capital Press by Don Jenkins:

Streams are dropping, July could be a scorcher and drought has officially returned to Western Washington.

Looking at all that, the Department of Ecology may issue for the first time a drought advisory, an early warning to be careful with water.

Ecology drought coordinator Jeff Marti said it’s much to expect summer rains to reverse the trend toward lower flows. “I think our hydrological fate has been set for the summer,” he said.

Ecology hosted a conference call Friday with resource agencies and water managers from around the state. The consensus was that stream and rivers are largely OK now, but generally will be running far below normal by the end of the summer.

The state’s summer water supply appeared well stocked in April. May, however, was the second warmest and 12th driest on record. Streams that were swelled by rain and melting snow in the spring are falling.

Right now, Western Washington is the dry side of the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday categorized 12 percent of the state in a moderate drought, the first time this year any part of the state has been considered to be in a drought. The drought covers all or parts of 11 westside counties south of Seattle.

Most of Eastern Washington remains far from drought conditions.

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond said Friday he expects the rest of the summer to be warmer than usual, though not as hot as 2015, the last year Washington declared a drought emergency.

Climate conditions resemble 1994, he said, a year the state went through a record-setting heat wave in late July.

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