The positive snowpack Washington enjoyed back in December and the start of 2016 has all but disappeared. State officials held a Water Supply meeting Thursday to discuss what fish, farmers and forests can expect in the coming months. NRCS’ Scott Pattee says not only did the warm temperatures this spring hurt the snowpack and water supply, but May was very dry, just like the month of April.
“Pretty much in the central part of the state. I think some thunderstorm activity went through there in the Yakima region, Wenatchee area, where they picked up decent rains.”
As of this week, seven of Washington’s 11 basins had snowpacks below 50% of average for this time of year, with three at 15% or lower. Pattee added one of the chief differences between this year and 2015, the soil temperatures are cooler and soil moisture levels are higher. Nick Bond with the Office of Climatologist said while it may be a challenging summer he says the end of 2016 appears encouraging.
“Yeah, it portends well for the snowpack next winter. How’s this summer going to play out, probably on the dry side, but conceivably we’ll see the rains start maybe a little bit earlier than usual.”
Because of the warm dry conditions this spring, Yakima Basin junior water rights supplies have already been trimmed for the season.
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