OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Citing projections that say this summer will have the lowest snowmelt in 64 years, Gov. Jay Inslee has expanded the state’s month-old drought emergency declaration.
Inslee’s announcement Friday morning more than doubles the number of Washington watershed areas officially considered suffering from drought. In March, the governor identified 11 watersheds as drought-afflicted, six west of the Cascades and five on the east side. Friday, 13 more river basins were added to the drought list. State officials now consider 44 percent of Washington officially in drought.
The statewide snowpack is only 24 percent of normal, Inslee’s office said in a statement. That’s lower than it was during the last statewide drought declaration in 2005.