Late last month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared drought for roughly half of the state. Cliff Mass, an Atmospheric Sciences Professor at the University of Washington said the expanded drought emergency, bears watching, but overall, he feels the state is in pretty decent shape water-wise.
“You know, I would not characterize the current situation as an emergency in any way. If you look at the water supplies of the major cities, they all look really good. I mean, the reservoir levels are quite high, and even some of the Ag reservoirs like the Yakima system, that’s just below normal, so they have 90%-95% of normal, in the reservoirs that feed the Yakima system.”
Mass says all you really have to do is look at the numbers.
“If you look at the percentage of normal precipitation over this winter, eastern Washington is 100%, or some places above 100%, but for most of it from the Columbia Basin, down to Walla Walla, the dries area has been in western Washington. But there is nothing serious going on. So if you look at any objective measure there really is no emergency in terms of water for Washington state.”
Mass added while he expects wildfires this summer, he does not expect a more active wildfire season, or larger blazes than in years past. However, Mass says wildfires are nature’s way of thinning the forests and after 50-years of improved fire suppression, nature is “trying to catch up”.
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