Serving Whitman County since 1877

Drought still a concern

Above-normal May rainfall not enough

Colfax — Despite slightly above-normal rainfall in the region, federal officials are holding steady on their drought declaration heading into June.

According to a NOAA water-year report released last week, May precipitation was above normal by 3%. But for the water year beginning in October, it’s only 91% of normal.

Streamflow forecasts for June through September range from 77% of normal to 102%, according to the analysis.

The drought status remains in place because winter snowfall across much of the Pacific Northwest was “severely lacking,” the report said, noting the snowpack also melted early.

“Drought across Washington is expected to expand and deteriorate throughout the summer due to poor hydrologic conditions and a poor streamflow outlook for much of the state,” the report said.

The report shows “drought development likely” across much of Eastern Washington, including Whitman County.

That’s because May storms that brought the above-normal precipitation were “not enough to alleviate drought concerns,” the report said.

As of June 4, officials said about a quarter of the state was in a moderate drought.

According to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), there are currently 97 individuals affected by drought in Whitman County (.02% of the total population).

So far this year, 2024 has been the 48th driest year in the past 130 years according to NIDIS.


Reader Comments(0)