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Washington issues statewide drought declaration!

The National Weather Service long-range forecast calls for above-normal spring temperatures across the Pacific Northwest. National Weather Service Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald.

‘Risk of undue hardship:’ Washington issues statewide drought declaration

Excerpt from The Bellingham Herald:

Washington declared a nearly statewide drought emergency Tuesday, citing low snowpack and forecasts of a warm, dry spring.

Limited exceptions were made for the Seattle, Everett and Tacoma areas, according to a statement from the state Department of Ecology.

“As our climate continues to change, we’re increasingly seeing our winters bring more rain and less snow. We depend on that winter snowpack to meet the needs of Washington’s farmers, fish, and communities during the dry summer months. And this year, it’s just not at the level we’re accustomed to and rely on,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.

Drought is declared in Washington when there is less than 75% of normal water supply and “there is the risk of undue hardship,” according to Ecology’s statement.

Declaring a drought emergency allows Ecology to provide grant funding and to process emergency water right permits and transfers.

Ecology is making up to $4.5 million available to qualifying public agencies to respond to the effects of current drought conditions, according to Tuesday’s statement.

“By moving quickly to declare a drought, we can begin delivering financial support to water systems with drought impacts, and work with water users to find solutions to challenges before they become a crisis,” said Laura Watson, Ecology’s director.

According to the National Weather Service, the Northwest is facing three months of below-normal rainfall and above-normal temperatures in spring. Warmer weather can cause early snowmelt as the region heads into its driest months of the year.

Posted by Steve on April 18, 2024 at 12:01 am | Permalink

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