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Thanks 'Junuary': No more drought for Washington state

caption: The Columbia River Gorge.
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The Columbia River Gorge.

Washington's Department of Ecology has canceled a drought declaration for Central and Eastern Washington.

Officials say that this year had the second-wettest stretch of May-through-June weather since 1895. That has left water supplies and conditions in much better shape than expected. That's good news considering that spring 2021 was the second driest on record.

“Conditions have improved," said Jeff Marti, Ecology’s statewide drought coordinator. "All areas of the state, including the five watersheds specified in the drought declaration, have received significantly above-normal precipitation. The outlook is much better than forecast back in May.”

“Conditions have been anything but drought-like,” he said. “We’ve experienced one of the wettest, coldest springs in recent memory. While the ‘Juneuary’ put a damper on gardening and outdoor activities, it provided a dramatic recovery for water supplies.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor said as of July 12, some sections of Douglas, Grant, Okanogan, Kittitas, and Yakima counties were the only ones dealing with a "moderate drought." The rest of the state was either listed as "abnormally dry" or not dealing with any form of drought.

DOE notes that a drought is declared when water supply levels are below 75% of normal in an area. That's what is written in state law. The Colville River, for example, is 86% of normal right now.

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