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caption: Hikers stand along Burroughs Mountain Trail with a view of Mount Rainier on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
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Hikers stand along Burroughs Mountain Trail with a view of Mount Rainier on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Why 'copious' rain could wash Washington's worries away this weekend

Washington's dry spell may be coming to an end. That's news most of the state, especially farmers east of the Cascades, have been waiting for.

Between record heat and an ongoing drought, State Climatologist Nick Bond says this summer has been brutal on Washington crops. Luckily, there is a lot of rain in this weekend's forecast which may be a lifeline for wheat crops.

"What [farmers] are worried about is their crop next year. This year is a disaster and a done deal," Bond says. "But they need enough moisture in the soil to germinate the seeds this fall to get some growth into the winter to have a good crop next year."

It's not good news for everyone.

Bond says the inch-and-a-half of rain expected this weekend may not be welcome at vineyards that are trying to keep their grapes dry; that helps concentrate the flavor.

Washingtonians looking for a taste of colder weather may be able to forgive a less robust glass of wine, however, if they can hit the ski slopes sooner rather than later.

Mt. Rainier's crown of snow is usually visible from miles away in Seattle, but it's been depleted by extreme heat. Bond says Mount Rainier is looking a little sad right now because its dark, glacial ice has been exposed. It typically sleeps tucked away under that top layer of snow.

Bond thinks that could change this weekend.

"No, the snow is not going to get down to really low elevations," he says. "But above 6,000 feet or so should get a fair amount. The prospects for a relatively early start to the ski season, you know, are decent."

We'll take it.