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Gov. Inslee declares drought for nearly half of Washington state

In this Dec. 22, 2015 photo a snowplow clears an overpass of freshly fallen snow over Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has expanded a drought emergency to nearly half the state because of worsened, poor water supply conditions and warmer and drier weather predicted throughout the summer. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
In this Dec. 22, 2015 photo a snowplow clears an overpass of freshly fallen snow over Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has expanded a drought emergency to nearly half the state because of worsened, poor water supply conditions and warmer and drier weather predicted throughout the summer. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has expanded a drought emergency to nearly half the state because of worsened, poor water supply conditions and warmer and drier weather predicted throughout the summer.

The governor declared drought for the Methow, Okanogan and Upper Yakima basins in April. He added 24 more basins this month including a large portion of Western and Central Washington and extending east to the Colville basin. Seattle, Tacoma and Everett areas are not included in the declaration.

Many areas of the state saw lower-than-normal snowpack this winter. A warm, dry spring quickly melted much of the snow that did accumulate.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service says every water basin in the state is below the 30-year median for snowpack.

The declaration allows expedited emergency water right permitting and allows the state to address drought hardships.

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