The statewide drought isn’t over yet. Winter rain and snow are expected to be less than normal.
Don’t let a bit of rain in the last few weeks fool you. We’re still in drought, state officials said.
Extreme drought in Eastern and Central Washington. Slightly better severe drought in much of Western Washington.
Winter rain and snow are expected to be below average, too, so Washington might start 2016 in worse shape than it started 2015.
“This historic drought is not over,” Maia Bellon, Ecology Department director, said.
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The combination of the El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific, coupled with a separate area of warm water off the Pacific Coast that meteorologists call “the Blob,” means the winter of 2015-16 is expected to be warmer than normal, and drier, State Climatologist Nick Bond said this week. But the problem is unlikely to be as extreme as last year, he said, with snow pack at least 70 percent of normal.
Recent rains have improved the stream flows on some rivers to near normal levels, Cindi Barton of the U.S. Geological Survey, said. Streams fed by glacial and snow melt remain low.