It may seem unlikely — considering the precipitation of the past couple of weeks — but Idaho and Washington could be headed for an abnormally dry summer.
Both eastern Washington and Idaho, based on short- and long-term forecasts, may expect an abnormally dry spring and summer, according to the report.
“The seasonal outlooks forecast for the spring are showing warmer-than-normal conditions and drier-than-normal for the Northwest,” said Karin Bumbaco, who conducts research as the assistant state climatologist with the Office of the Washington State Climatologist.
“So I think that is a bit concerning, both with what snowpack we have, and we may not build up as much through the latter part of the snow season as what we’ve seen the last few years.” While the situation seemed more dire in January, which was an unusually warm and dry month throughout the Pacific Northwest, Bumbaco said the precipitation of the early part of February helped replenish snowpacks, particularly in the Cascade Mountain region and the panhandle of Idaho.
The Cascade region has built up to about 85 percent of normal, while Idaho’s snow level is between 90 percent to 95 percent of normal.
But there is some concern still.” Bumbaco said long-term trends throughout the Northwest show temperatures have been warming in all seasons of the year.
I do expect there to be more decrease in our snowpack in Washington and Idaho in the future than what we’ve already seen, due to climate change.” Defining ‘drought’ Drought is defined by the National Weather Service as a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period.
According to federal data, there have been three or four major droughts in the past 100 years.
Since 2000, the longest duration of drought in Idaho lasted 258 weeks, beginning on Jan. 30, 2001, and ending on Jan. 3, 2006.
Too early to panic “The snow we’re getting now is good, but if the snow is not available earlier and if we have extremely cold temperatures below zero, then that’s when we really have problems,” he said.