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Impacts Of Drought In Washington


The Dungeness River relies heavily on snowmelt from the Olympic Mountains to provide water for more than 6,000 acres of farms in the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula near Sequim, Washington. In May, flows in the river were less than half of normal.

The Dungeness River relies heavily on snowmelt from the Olympic Mountains to provide water for more than 6,000 acres of farms in the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula near Sequim, Washington. In May, flows in the river were less than half of normal.

Ashley Ahearn, EarthFix/KUOW

Very little snow fell in the mountains of Washington this winter. That’s bad news for people and animals reliant on the rivers sourced throughout the year by melting snowpack. In May, Governor Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency and called for special funding to help mitigate potential damages. One of the hardest hit areas is the famously wet Olympic Peninsula — mountains there received less than 5 percent of their regular snowfall. 

We talk with Jeff Marti, drought coordinator for the Washington Ecology Department about the statewide response and EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn, who has covered the drought’s effects in the Olympic Peninsula. We’ll also hear from Cliff Mass, a University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and weather commentator, who doesn’t think it’s time to panic just yet.

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