New York Times, By Kirk Johnson, May 15
Seattle, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency for Washington on Friday, with mountain snowpack at 16 percent of average and water levels in rivers and streams drying to a trickle not seen since the 1950s. He said that residents should also be prepared for an early and active fire season that could reach higher elevations in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, where many spots are already completely clear of snow.
“We’re seeing things happen at this time of year we just have never seen before,” Mr. Inslee said in a news conference.
But he said that unlike other drought-stricken parts of the West, especially California, the problem here in the nation’s northwest corner falls primarily on agriculture and wildlife. The large metropolitan water systems serving Seattle and other cities on the state’s western edge, where most people live, are largely in good shape, with rainwater-based reservoirs and no immediate plans for water-use restrictions.
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