Monitoring Snowpack Levels

Monitoring Snowpack Levels

Monitoring Snowpack Levels

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Statewide snowpack levels are sitting at about 55 percent, which is less than average for this time of year, but Scott Pattee, water supply specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mount Vernon says that the decision during a meeting on Thursday of state and federal officials monitoring the state's water supply is that it's a little early yet to start preparing for the worst.

PATTEE: The Department of Ecology kind of holds that whole situation together when we have an impending drought situation and they call to order the water availability committee. We had a teleconference and shared a bunch of information between all the different agencies and entities involved - pretty much decided that yes, it was too early. Especially, we knew there's a series of storms coming in, which could make a big difference.

Obviously, Pattee says they are going to watch the situation and keep each other informed over the next month.

PATTEE: We have another meeting scheduled for early March. At that point then obviously we'll have a lot more information and kind of have a better idea what's going to happen and then we can make a decision on what direction that the state should go.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor 93 percent of the state is in moderate drought conditions, which Pattee says is typical in these type of years.

PATTEE: I've been doing this for twenty years and so I've been through several of these situations here in the state and really we usually don't make any drought type calls until after March 1 - just because February is such a volatile month and it can be either dry as a bone or it can bring a lot of moisture. So even though at this point we should have between 65 and 70 percent of our annual snowfall on the ground by the end of January February still brings a big chunk more of that, probably another 20 percent. So we just have to wait and see what happens.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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