SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state Department of Ecology on Thursday issued a drought advisory for most of Washington, including all areas east of the Cascade Range, portions of southwest Washington and the Washington coast.

March through April was the fourth driest such period for Washington since 1895, the agency said.

That raised concerns for farmers and ranchers in eastern Washington. Early observations of crop stress and expectations for reduced yields are being reported, said Water Resources Planner Jeff Marti.

Marti warned against getting too optimistic after recent rain in the Spokane area.

“The Spokane airport has experienced the lowest amount of precipitation for the Feb. 1 to May 24 period, going all the way back to 1881. It needs more than 4 inches of rain to get back to normal,” he said.

Marti said the Puget Sound area has sufficient water supply for people and fish this summer. “Seattle, Tacoma and Everett have stored water and the area hasn’t had a problem with precipitation,” he said.

Advertising

Drought advisories are informational only, and include no emergency authorizations or funding, the agency said.

This is the first time the Department of Ecology has issued a drought advisory since it received the authority to do so from the Legislature in 2020.

Counties included in the advisory are Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima.