The state’s drought declaration, which was declared in March, will be allowed to expire thanks to a series of favorable snowstorms.
The state’s drought declaration, which was declared back in early March, will be allowed to expire thanks to a series of favorable snowstorms.
But officials also warn that it’s too early to celebrate.
The snowpack is at or above normal across the Cascades, eliminating drought in Western Washington and reducing drought from extreme to moderate in Central and Eastern Washington, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The drought designation is scheduled to expire Dec. 31.
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“We’re not extending the designation at this time because right now, conditions look good,” said state Department of Ecology spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder. “But we’ll be evaluating in January and February because with this El Niño (weather pattern), conditions could change.”
The long-term forecast continues to predict warmer and drier than normal conditions in January, February and March, so Yakima Basin irrigators will continue to watch the snowpack levels closely for the next few months.
But they can relax and enjoy knowing it’s going to be a very white Christmas in the mountains.
State law defines a drought by two main criteria: when water supplies dip below 75 percent of normal and if problems are expected for water users.
The designation opens the door to state funding to help farmers, communities and fisheries deal with drought conditions.