Iowa Public Television


Low Snowpack Adds to Drought Worries

posted on March 18, 2005

Above average temperature readings in January and February, coupled with record low levels of precipitation, have caused unprecedented snowmelt in portions of the western U.S.

Four days after Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire declared a statewide drought emergency, water-supply specialists were busy checking mountain snowpack. The snowpack, which feeds rivers and streams when it melts, is less than 26 percent of normal.

Under normal circumstances, snowpack accumulates until about April 1, when it begins melting. But officials say just to get to average precipitation levels, the state would need three to four times the average rain and snowfall during the next two weeks.

Tags: agriculture drought news snow water weather