High snowpack in Washington’s mountains after February storms

That’s good news for agricultural and other interests that rely on spring melt off.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Snowpack in the mountains of Washington state is high and experts say that’s good news for agricultural and other interests that rely on spring melt off.

As of March 2, snowpack in the Olympics stood at 164% of normal. Much of the central Cascades were at 145% of normal, and the eastern slopes of the Cascades were at 123% of normal, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which tracks snowpack under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A healthy snowpack could also mitigate wildfires.

KING reports it was the summers following some of the lowest snowpacks recorded in 2014 and 2015 that saw record fire seasons in the state as measured by acres burned.

This is not a record winter, but it’s a good one, according to Nick Bond, a climatologist for Washington state.

“It’s up there. It’s up there in the upper 15 or 20%, especially in Washington state,” Bond said.

Bond said the state can credit La Niña, the temperature shift moving cooler ocean water toward the eastern half of the pacific around the equator, which typically makes our winters cooler and wetter.

Bond said La Niña’s effects don’t really kick in until January, and most of the snow the state received came in February, which weather statistics show was the snowiest February in 20 years.

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