In Olympia today, many people were saddened that our heat wave of 3 days has come and gone and the rain is back. The consensus was, that as much as we enjoyed the sun, we probably need more rain since we had such a mild winter. With only 2 days of minimal snowfall over the entire winter, many people assume that we are going to experience a drought this year. You know what happens when you assume things, right?
Washington State is sitting pretty with our mountain snowpack this year. Despite sporadic storms and no real serious winter storm over the entire state, we are well over average snow levels for the year. In fact, while most states are experiencing dryer than normal winters, Washington State is currently at 112% of normal. This is good new for fire conditions, irrigation levels and overall wellness to our state.
The whole state on average is higher, but the southeast corner, near Walla Walla and Clarkston is only at 85% of normal. Officials are not concerned however, thanks to the Cascade Mountains having a great snowpack, with chances for more over the weekend.
Locally, the Olympic Mountains are the leaders of snowfall, currently at 130% of normal levels. This is both great and bad news for hikers and skiers. With such a snowfall, locals in Port Angeles should have been able to enjoy it at the Olympic Peninsula’s only ski area. Thanks to budget problems and the inability to come up with a plowing schedule that was both from private and public groups, Hurricane Ridge was closed the majority of days. Hikers may also take this news hard, as popular trails and mountains may not be easily accessible until late summer.
Granted, as much as I would like to go climbing on some snow free peaks this summer, I would rather deal with snow than have to know a drought is imminent, such as New Mexico (45% of normal), Utah (66%) and Wyoming (80%). This summer again will probably have severe droughts, wildfires and lack of irrigated crops, which will suck. However, up here in the Pacific Northwest, we can be glad that when the rain starts to fall in the lowlands and the snow piles up in the mountains, it is a good thing.