The Olympics, with Mount Pershing in the front on April 20, have very little snowpack this year.
By John Stang
Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday declared all of Washington to be in a drought, kicking in state-backed remedial measures on a scale never seen before.
People in the urban Puget Sound area are not feeling the direct effects. But rural Washingtonians -- especially farmers -- have been hit hard.
"We have some really tough months ahead of us," said Maia Bellon, director of the Washington Department of Ecology.
Inslee said, "This summer, we can expect to see our lowest river levels in 64 years."
The drought is due to snowpacks running roughly 16 percent of what they have been normally. Melting snow feeds the steams, rivers and irrigation canals to make Washington's farm economy possible. The low snowpacks have been linked by some to global warming.
The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service recently surveyed 98 sites that normally would have snow at that time and found 66 free of snow, with 11 free of snow for the first time. In April, the U.S. Geological Survey found 78 percent of the state's streams below normal levels, according to the governor's office.
"On the Olympic Peninsula, where there would normally be 80 inches of snow now, flowers such as glacier lilies are blooming," Inslee said.