PENINSULA: Whatever the rain, drought worries continue

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April showers bring . . . more drought worries.

Despite normal precipitation levels last month, snowpack and river levels are still well below normal, recent data show.

In March, Gov. Gary Locke stood on a dry lake bed and declared a statewide drought emergency, citing the lowest winter precipitation levels in more than two decades.

While April precipitation was a little better, it is not enough to compensate for the driest winter since 1976-77, officials say.

“The numbers for April show that the drought we predicted is still very real,”‘ Doug McChesney, state Department of Ecology drought coordinator, said last week.

On the North Olympic Peninsula, rain and snow levels have only been about two-thirds of average since October, the National Weather Service reported. But April precipitation was at 100 normal levels for the area.

April flurries increased snowpack in Washington and delayed melt by two to three weeks. The snow-depth sites measured around the state usually reach their peak before May 1, so the recent increases are because of either April accumulation or slower melting, according to the Department of Agriculture.

This full report appears in the Monday editions of the Peninsula News. Or click onto “Subscribe” at left to purchase your copy via U.S. mail.

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