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Above-average snowpack is good news for electric bills, tomato-lovers

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EVERETT, Wash. — Skiers and snowboarders reveled in deep snow all winter.

Summer hobbyists should celebrate, too.

All mountain areas of Washington state are at or above average snowfall for this time of year. According to the Snohomish County PUD, measurements taken at three elevation areas around the county show snowpack and water containment at about 160 percent of normal.

From USDA.gov.

The above-average snowpack means there could be no water restrictions this summer.

“It’s looking good for water supply for gardens and filling pools,” said Neil Neroutsos, a spokesperson for Snohomish Public Utilities.

It’s also good for electricity bills. Heavy snowpack keeps the utilities department from buying electricity out-of-area, holding rates down.

Karin Bumbaco, an assistant state climatologist, said a wet winter and a what’s forecast to be a dry, hot summer are good news for gardeners, especially tomato fans.

“Our snowpack is normal to above normal for the state of Washington,” Bumbaco said. “It’s great news for our summer water supply.”

Summer hikers may have to wait a little longer for high-elevation trails to clear of snow.

A wet winter means a late start to the summer fire season. But the severity of the fire season will depend on dry streaks, and could actually be worse as growth from the wet winter dries out.

“Because the summer forecast is drier and warmer than normal,” Bumbaco said, “we do expect to have a slightly higher wildfire potential starting in July for the state.”

In 2015, Snohomish County had zero percent of it’s average annual snowpack after a dismal snow year. Bumbaco said the great swing in yearly snowfall totals is an important reminder of our changing climate.

“Even though we’re in a good water year, water conservation is really important,” Bumbaco said.  “And how we adapt to having less water in the future due to a changing climate.”

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