The National Resource Conservation Service is reporting Eastern Washington will remain in drought status this year after snowfall numbers plummeted following the record-breaking early January storm.
“January started off with e bang with snow accumulation of +/- 200% of normal, building the statewide pack to 133% of the long-term median,” Water Supply Specialist Scott Pattee wrote. “However, the second half of the month brought 0-50% of normal snow fall. The first 11 days of the month carried the weight of the entire month. February is not starting off any better.”
The NRCS’s monthly water supply outlook for February was released recently.
Statewide, snowpack was at 100% of normal as of Feb. 1, down 7% from Jan. 1. The January supply outlook reported that 107% statewide number jumped 14% after the heavy snowfall later that week.
The Upper Columbia basin was at 96% of normal for its snowpack as of Feb. 1, and the Methow Basin was at 102% of normal Feb. 1, down from 112% Jan. 1. Last year, the Methow basin’s snowpack was at 109% of normal at this time.
As of Feb. 10, Harts Pass had 88 inches of snow, 102% of its average snowpack for this time of year. Snow at Rainy Pass was at 77 inches, or 101% of average.
As of the Feb. 1 report, the Methow River at Pateros was at 146% of average January streamflows, according to the report.
In the next few months, the Pacific Northwest is forecast to have below average temperatures and above average precipitation, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Central Okanogan County is predicted to stay in “D0 – Abnormally Dry” drought status, while eastern Okanogan County could reach the “D1 – Moderate Drought” level. Western mountainous areas of the county are not predicted to be in drought status.