There was little snow last year, and most of what fell melted early, leading to dry conditions that set the stage for catastrophic wildfires.
SPOKANE — Mountain snowpack came in above normal in Washington state, raising hopes the normally soggy state will not repeat last year’s drought conditions that helped fuel the worst wildfire season in its history, a federal agency said Monday.
Winter snowpack was 109 percent of normal across the state, but the numbers varied by location, according to a Feb. 1 report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Some areas came in just below 70 percent, while others ranked close to 150 percent of normal.
Mountain snowpack is important because the snow melts during the spring and summer months and fills rivers and reservoirs across the state. There was little snow last year, and most of what fell melted early, leading to dry conditions that set the stage for catastrophic wildfires. The blazes burned more than 1 million acres and killed three firefighters.
Snow that fell early this winter allowed Washington to end its drought declaration in December, said Scott Pattee, a water-supply expert for the agency. But he warned that the summer water supply could worsen if temperatures rise dramatically and precipitation drops in the next two months.
Most Read Local Stories
- A Republican senator has a great idea to save the year for Washington state schools
- Coronavirus daily news updates, February 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- Seattle is texting alerts about leftover COVID-19 vaccines; here's who can get on the limited standby list
- Washington state has never pulled an officer's badge for excessive force. That may be changing
- After impeachment vote, Rep. Herrera Beutler draws pro-Trump challengers