The Spokane drought worsened to severe levels to begin June and all of Washington is expected to be in drought by the end of August.
SPOKANE, Washington – It has been a dry spring for Spokane and most of Washington. For the western United States, summer is the driest season on average and that doesn’t bode well for our drought situation.
Since the June 3 Drought Monitor update, drought conditions have spread and worsened across Washington. Today, 68% of the state reports at least moderate drought conditions, with Spokane now in the throes of a severe drought.
The US Drought Monitor, the primary source used to report drought conditions in the county, updates the drought map weekly every Thursday morning. The collaborative effort between the National Drought Mitigation Center, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported drought conditions across the country since 2000.
There are four stages of drought intensity: moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. The US Drought Monitor is also reporting a milestone before the drought known as abnormally dry.
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Spokane has seen only 67 hundredths of an inch of rain since the start of the weather spring on March 1, 2021. Over the past three months, the rainfall deficit has increased to just under four inches below average.
Meteorologists’ summer averages 2.23 inches of rain for Spokane, with June itself averaging the most at 1.25 inches. These are the months of July, August, and September that are incredibly dry, averaging about half an inch per year.
Even though we are near average, it often does not reverse the course of drought conditions in summer. This means that the drought is likely to have only one direction to follow and it is even worse. The Climate Prediction Center predicts that all of Washington state, as well as the entire West Coast and Rocky Mountains, will be in a dry spell by the end of August.