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Sunday, August 25, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

End of June drought report in a word: bleak

An advertising campaign inspired by drought encourages California residents to landscape with native plants that need less water.  The ads also encourage people to take shorter showers and use brooms to sweep instead of hosing off driveways and sidewalks. (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission)
An advertising campaign inspired by drought encourages California residents to landscape with native plants that need less water. The ads also encourage people to take shorter showers and use brooms to sweep instead of hosing off driveways and sidewalks. (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission)

CLIMATE CHANGE -- If we were smart here in the Inland Northwest, we'd let 2015 be our incentive to embrace water conservation.

Fish and wildlife depend on water the flows on the surface as well as that precious ground water.

All sources of water, from Eastern Washing aquifers to the arctic ice caps, are in steadily shorter supply.

But enough about the future. Here's a brief update on the 2015 drought in this region through the end of June from Katherine Rowden, service hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

Our region is experiencing a very unusual year in terms of low snowpack, early snowmelt, above average temps, below average spring precipitation, & low streamflow. We've put together pertinent information for conditions and emerging and potential impacts for the area served by our Weather Forecast Office (much of Eastern WA and Northern ID).

Highlight from the NWS Spokane Drought Information Statement (created June 26th) include:

  • Several NRCS & Canadian snow observation sites (SNOTELs, Snow Courses, Snow Pillows) set records this winter for low snowpack and early snowmelt across the Western US
  • Several rivers and streams are at record low levels for this time in June
  • 2015 has seen record evaporation for the April - June 24th period since we started measuring in Spokane in 1980
  • Water supply forecasts for summer streamflow at several locations put them at or near the lowest summer streamflow volumes since at least 1971. 
  • Wildfire conditions are at critical levels in many areas - we're already seeing conditions that we would see in August in a typical year. 

Other relevant NWS information statements

Record low June streamflow info for Inland NW (created June 23rd) 

Record low June streamflow info for Western MT & Northcentral ID (created June 24th)

NWS Seattle Drought Information Statement (created May 22nd)

NWS Boise Drought Information Statement (created June 3rd)

 

Additional drought info for Washington




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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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