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Zero is the word for area’s snowpack

Minimal snow remains at 8,300 feet in the Sawtooth Wilderness in mid-June 2015. (Bob Drzymkowski)
Minimal snow remains at 8,300 feet in the Sawtooth Wilderness in mid-June 2015. (Bob Drzymkowski)

RIVERS -- All mountain stations across Washington that measure snowpack are reporting the same number: zero.

“That doesn’t mean there isn’t any snow at higher elevations. There are glaciers up there,” Jeff Marti of the state Department of Ecology tells the Seattle Times. “It does mean the snowpack — what we depend on for our water supply — has essentially gone to zero already for the summer.”

Marti said record-high temperatures from October to March kept rain falling, rather than snow. What little snow fell didn’t last.

“Some basins where we expect to see snow last until late June, the snow is already gone and has been gone since late May,” said Marti, who added that about 40 percent of the state’s rivers are at record lows and flowing slowly.

Low water levels could hamper fish migration, and thousands of Yakima basin farmers will have to ration or conserve water this summer.

I'm afraid this isn't the last you'll hear of this story this year.

...Do you smell smoke?




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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