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Below Average Snowpack Sparks Drought Concerns in Washington State

It might be hard to believe if you're in Boston right now, but the entire West Coast is suffering a poorly timed dearth of snow, a critical source of drinking water and hydroelectric capacity for the region.
March 5, 2015, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Even the notoriously waterlogged Washington State is teetering on the edge of drought, according to an article by Kie Relyea,  with the state’s snowpack at about 29 percent of normal.

Relyea cites Scott Pattee, water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mount Vernon, who explains that the North Cascades would need 357 percent of normal snowfall between now and April 7 to catch up the average yearly snowpack. "That’s just not going to happen. Catching up is not even a dream any more," says Pattee.

Relyea breaks down the snowpack totals as follows:

  • The Skagit River Basin is 62 percent of normal.
  • The Baker River Basin is 22 percent of normal.
  • The Nooksack River Basin is 15 percent of normal.

Those basins are of particular important to residents of the state's largest city, who count on snowmelt from those basins for hydroelectric capacity generated by Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 in The Bellingham Herald
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