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2006 U.S. Drought News


December, 2006

Shrinking supply of water spurs three risky wells in Yale, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality wants the Payne County community to chlorinate water from three shallow wells it drilled and to issue an order for residents to boil their water before drinking it or using it to cook. The community drilled the 18-foot wells last week in an effort to cope with a water-supply crisis. It cost the town about $200,000 to drill the wells, which produce water not considered drinkable under current health standards and could be useless by spring. Community leaders said they didn’t have the $500,000 it costs to hook up to Stillwater’s water system. Yale is one of eight communities that get water from drought-parched Lone Chimney Lake, which continues to drop about an inch every day without the aid of rain. If it dries up entirely, about 16,000 people in north-central Oklahoma will be without drinking water. AP/Tulsa World_ 12/18/06

South Florida on verge of drought -- and water use restrictions

The lack of serious rain has left the region on the verge of a drought, and water managers could begin imposing mandatory restrictions next month on lawn watering and car washing. Early next year, the South Florida Water Management District could impose the first mandatory restrictions since 2001 -- a decision that would reverberate from small car washes to massive agribusiness. Rainfall has been 16 percent below average in Miami-Dade this year, 22 percent below average in eastern Broward and 33 percent below average in eastern Palm Beach, according to the district. None of the three have been at normal levels since the end of 2005. But a strengthening El Niño in the Pacific could bring some extra rain in the winter -- sustained, widespread storms instead of the spotty squalls that haunt the summer. Such storms could help recharge Lake Okeechobee, which is South Florida's secondary water source after the Biscayne Aquifer and is critical during the winter dry season. Miami Herald_ 12/9/06

November, 2006

Meteorologists expect Nebraska drought to continue

Weather watchers expect drought conditions in Nebraska to continue in the coming year. El Nino is currently warming sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. In most cases, that pushes warmer weather across the United States. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Hastings expect El Nino to bring warmer weather to Nebraska. That could affect the amount of snow that falls in the Midwest. Meteorologist Mike Moritz said drought conditions are somewhat alleviated when snow falls in the Northern Rockies. But this year, El Nino could suppress snow in that region. AP/KETV_ 11/27/06

Kansas City-area water utilities concerned about low Missouri River levels

Area water utilities are concerned about the Missouri River's depth, saying they could have to turn on emergency equipment if the river drops a few more inches. The problem is an unprecedented, long-term drought in the upper sections of the river. Water storage in the upstream reservoirs is at an all-time low, and some lake levels are 26 to 30 feet below normal. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stopped water releases for navigation early this fall to conserve water. It's releasing just enough water from upstream reservoirs to keep utility intakes in the Kansas City area beneath the river's surface, said corps spokesman Paul Johnston. John Reddy, treatment plant manager for the Kansas City Water Services Department, said the river is only about a half foot above the level where auxiliary pumps will need to be turned on. Kansas City has wells, but they don't have enough capacity to supply the region's water needs, Reddy said.  AP/Southeast Missourian_ 11/20/06

October, 2006

Warming warning for western U.S.

Rising temperatures in the 11 Western states due to global warming will cause more prolonged droughts, more widespread wildfires, and extensive die-offs in regional plant, fish and game habitats, according to a report Thursday from the National Wildlife Federation. To address climate change, the organization urged national limits on the greenhouse gases responsible for rising temperatures, such as carbon dioxide and methane. California recently adopted such limits. The federation report, called "Fueling the Fire," brings a regional focus to climate research findings from federal agencies, academia and science journals. All told, the winter snowpack, which is the source of 75% of the West's water, has declined by up to a third in the northern Rocky Mountain region and more than 50% in parts of the Cascades since 1950, the federation reported. Indeed, the West is in the middle of a prolonged drought that may be the worst since record-keeping began more than a century ago — the direct consequence of altered weather patterns caused by warmer temperatures in the Pacific and Indian oceans, other research groups have reported. Los Angeles Times_ 10/6/06 (logon required)

September, 2006

NOAA issues unscheduled El Niño advisory

Scientists at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center reported El Niño conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific and are likely to continue into early 2007. Ocean temperatures increased remarkably in the equatorial Pacific in early September. "Currently, weak El Niño conditions exist, but there is a potential for this event to strengthen into a moderate event by winter," said Vernon Kousky, NOAA's lead El Niño forecaster. Some impacts from the developing El Niño are already evident in the pattern of tropical precipitation. During the last 30 days, drier-than-average conditions have been observed across all of Indonesia, Malaysia and most of the Philippines, which are usually the first areas to experience ENSO-related impacts. This dryness can be expected to continue, on average, for the remainder of 2006. Also, the development of weak El Niño conditions helps explain why this Atlantic hurricane season has been less active than was previously expected. Typical El Niño effects include warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States. Wetter-than-average conditions are likely over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, while drier-than-average conditions can be expected in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest. NOAA_ 9/13/06

Oklahoma drought conditions worst in 50 years

Despite some much-needed rain in recent days, Oklahoma remains locked in what climatologists say is the worst drought in a half-century. State climatologist Derek Arndt says current conditions are similar to droughts of the 1930s and 1950s, but says the full scope of the current drought can't be judged until it ends. Oklahoma set a record for the hottest first six months of a year from January through June, making 2006 the warmest start to any year since climate records began in 1895. AP/KOTV_ 9/3/06

August, 2006

Reuters Feature: Drought, water worries cloud skies for US farmers

As the United States bakes in one of the hottest summers since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, drought from the Dakotas to Arizona through Alabama has sharpened the focus of farmers on their lifeline: water. Eighty percent of all fresh water consumed in the United States is used to produce food. But years of drought, diversion of water to growing urban areas and, most lately, concerns about global warming are feeding worries. Specifically, farmers fear the U.S. Plains is facing its limits as a world producer of wheat, beef, vegetable oils and other crops due to long-term water shortages. The U.S. National Weather Service's outlook through October saw persistent drought from eastern Montana to Minnesota and on down through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Reuters_ 8/22/06

Wyoming state engineer rejects Montana claim to river way

The Wyoming state engineer has denied Montana's request -- based on a 50-year-old water compact -- for more water from Yellowstone River tributaries. In a letter to Rich Moy, acting administrator of the Water Resources Division in Montana's Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Wyoming State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell said the drought in the region left Wyoming no water to release under the 1950 compact. In fact, he said, people with water rights dating to 1900 were being left dry because rights dating back to the 1880s were being filled first. AP/Billings Gazette_ 8/17/06

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue seeks federal disaster aid for drought

Because most of the state has been sweltering under severe heat and drought conditions for months, Gov. Sonny Perdue formally asked the federal government Wednesday for a disaster declaration that would make farmers in 155 of the state's 159 counties eligible to obtain low-interest loans. Perdue spokeswoman Heather Hedrick said it normally takes about two weeks for such requests to be granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin said the state received disaster assistance for drought in 2005, 2002, 2001 and 2000. Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Carol Couch declared a Level 1 drought across the state in June. Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 8/10/06

Drought-related losses mount in Missouri

Pastures are browning and dusty across much of Missouri. Fewer barges can navigate the low water on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Water utilities are spending more to get mud out of sluggish rivers. A severe drought in much of the state is entering its 18th month, and the costs are mounting — even if it is too soon to tally them, experts say. The online Drought Monitor of the National Drought Mitigation Center shows ugly swaths of brown and red across the central and southern United States. The National Climatic Data Center said the country appears to be on course to top $1 billion in drought-related losses this year, although it's too soon for official figures. AP/USA Today_ 8/10/06

Drought affecting Central Texas
Since the spring, Central Texas has been in the middle of a moderate drought. Most cities and towns have water restrictions and put residents on a watering schedule. Even the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District has declared an  an "alarm" stage drought. Allen Spelce of the Texas Department of Agriculture said it's been the second driest period since 1918. News 8 Austin_ 8/6/06

North Dakota congressional delegation asks President Bush to take Midwest drought tour

Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said Friday the delegation will send the president a letter asking him to tour the driest parts of the state. South central North Dakota and north central South Dakota have been called the "epicenter" of the drought that has hit the nation this year. More than 60 percent of the United States now has abnormally dry or drought conditions, stretching from Georgia to Arizona and across the north through the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. But lawmakers from those states have had a difficult time getting any dollars for relief as Congress struggles to pay for Hurricane Katrina recovery and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. AP/Bismarck Tribune_ 8/5/06

Thousands evacuated amid West Texas flooding fears

About 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the west Texas border city of El Paso on Thursday due to fears a nearby dam in Mexico might burst and cause flooding, a city spokeswoman said on Friday. El Paso has received more than seven inches of rain since Tuesday and is still under a flash flood warning. The rain has put pressure on the earthen La Montada Dam, which cannot withstand further heavy rains, officials from Juarez, Mexico told the El Paso Times newspaper. Until the downpours began, El Paso was drought-stricken, with only an inch of rain recorded for the year through Monday. Reuters_ 8/4/06

July, 2006

Georgia officials at odds over progress of drought-impact assessment

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin is at odds with one of the state's top federal agricultural officials over the progress of a drought assessment that could qualify farmers for low-interest emergency loans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 48 of Alabama's 67 counties as natural disaster areas on July 5, making farmers in those counties eligible for emergency loans from the federal Farm Service Agency. Some west Georgia farmers also are eligible because their counties border some of Alabama's disaster counties. Irvin, a Democrat facing one of his strongest re-election challenges this year, aired his drought concerns on July 21 by sending Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue an "urgent request," asking for help in getting a disaster declaration for Georgia. The U.S. Drought Monitor, a collaborative effort of several federal agencies, including the National Weather Service, rates most of Georgia as in a moderate to severe drought. The least affected area is a strip along the Georgia Coast, classified as abnormally dry. Annual rainfall deficits range from 6 to 9 inches for most of the state, but are as high as 20 inches in a few areas. The hot, dry weather has taken a greater toll on Alabama, with most of the state in severe to extreme drought. Steve Newton, Georgia's Farm Service Agency director, said Friday that the farming assessment is progressing on schedule, exactly as it should, and he characterized Irvin's appeal to the governor as election-year grandstanding. AP/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer_ 7/30/06

More than 60 percent of U.S. in drought

More than 60 percent of the United States now has abnormally dry or drought conditions, stretching from Georgia to Arizona and across the north through the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. An area stretching from south central North Dakota to central South Dakota is the most drought-stricken region in the nation, Svoboda said. Farm ponds and other small bodies of water have dried out from the heat, leaving the residual alkali dust to be whipped up by the wind. The blowing, dirt-and-salt mixture is a phenomenon that hasn't been seen in south central North Dakota since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, said Walter Johnson, mayor of Steele, North Dakota. AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer_ 7/29/06

Drought conditions - and fire danger - pervade Montana

The effects of the hot, dry summer are written all over the map. Drought conditions, isolated in Montana earlier this month, now cover the eastern half of the state and most of the northern tier. Abnormally dry conditions blanket the west, save for the pocket of moderate drought in west-central Montana. A climatologist chalked up the recent dramatic change to factors including the heat wave, winds and the long-term drought that areas including southern and eastern Montana were still emerging from. AP/BillingsGazette_ 7/28/06

Low levels in Minnesota rivers affecting water quality
Many Minnesota rivers and streams are approaching dangerously low levels because of the recent hot and dry weather. Some experts are worried those conditions are already affecting water quality. Algae is more likely to bloom on hot, stagnant rivers. They also worry that aquatic animals, from water bugs to fish, will have a hard time surviving this dry spell. Hydrologist Mike Mueller hasn't seen water levels this low since 1988. Minnesota Public Radio_ 7/17/06

Colorado's incredible shrinking reservoir

Going, going, almost gone. By sometime early next week, Colorado's second-largest reservoir almost certainly will have been drained to a mudhole. If projections hold true, John Martin Reservoir, a giant impoundment on the Arkansas River near Las Animas, will be reduced to only 300 surface acres, less than 2 percent of its maximum storage. Wildlife officials long feared such a development in the wake of a court decision awarding Kansas a greater share of water under the Arkansas River Compact. In addition to drought, Arkansas River woes in southeast Colorado have been compounded through an accelerated acquisition of water rights by fast-growing municipalities such as Aurora and Colorado Springs, which increasingly divert water from the upper river. Denver Post_ 7/16/06

Awash in loss: Northeast Colorado farmers fear court ruling will cost them their livelihoods, land and water

It has been a gloomy spring and summer for farmers along the South Platte River who are growing wheat, corn, sugar beets and melons. Many had already planted their crops when the state engineer issued a forecast anticipating lower-than-average flows in the South Platte, leading to the shutdown of wells drawing water that would otherwise flow into the river meandering through northeastern Colorado. What does it mean? Weld County commissioners fear bankruptcies and foreclosures. The governor declared a state of emergency, but it didn't help the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District find more water. AP/Denver Post_ 7/10/06

June, 2006

Drought is fuel for wildfires in Western U.S.

A lingering drought has created ideal wildfire conditions across much of the West and Southwest this summer, alarming forestry officials, who already are dealing with an unusually high number of fires. Nationwide as of the weekend, officials have reported more than 54,000 fires charring more than 3.2 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. Both figures were the highest in at least a decade for this point in the year. ``Basically, you have had low precipitation since the late 1990s, and now, a winter in which we got close to no precipitation" in the Southwest, said Chuck Maxwell, a meteorologist with the Department of the Interior who months ago predicted a severe fire season. ``The fuel moisture levels are very low. The humidity is very low. There are lots of places now that are as dry as we have ever seen them." Los Angeles Times/AP/Boston Globe_ 6/26/06

Water users association rations water in Colorado's Gunnison River Basin

Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association Manager Marc Catlin said farmers in the valley are using large quantities of water because of the high temperatures and windy conditions. The increased demand forced the association to reduce water allotments to 90 percent late last week. Dan Crabtree, Bureau of Reclamation water resources group chief, said the Aspinal Unit, which includes Blue Mesa Reservoir, is being managed for drought conditions. Montrose Daily Press_ 6/25/06

13 Nebraska counties added to drought disaster request

The additions are based on reports by local Farm Service Agency reports. As of Friday, Gov. Dave Heineman has sought disaster declarations for 49 counties. AP/Lincoln Journal-Star_ 6/23/06

Georgia officials declare statewide drought

Georgia's dry conditions prompted officials Wednesday to declare a statewide drought, implementing tougher restrictions on outdoor water use. The restrictions, classified as Level 1 under the state's drought response plan, would ban outdoor water use between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Carol Couch, director of the state Environmental Protection Division, made the announcement Wednesday after consulting with Gov. Sonny Perdue. Her announcement was based on the recommendations of a state drought response panel that convened earlier in the day. The committee — made up of representatives from 32 state and federal government agencies, as well as colleges and non-government organizations — made its decision after hearing from state and federal climate and water experts. The experts said most of the state was facing drier-than-normal conditions, including lower stream and reservoir levels. AP/USA Today_ 6/22/06

May, 2006

Tree rings show severe droughts in history of Colorado River Basin

A new study of tree ring records in the Colorado River basin reaffirms that one of the West's most important water sources is no stranger to severe drought. Analyzing tree cores that reflect how wet or dry the climate was, scientists reconstructed the Colorado River's flow from 1490 to 1997. During that period, they found evidence of as many as eight severe droughts that lasted five consecutive years. The study echoes other research showing that, when the Colorado water was divided among seven Western states in 1922, it was an unusually wet period, resulting in overly optimistic water allocations. Los Angeles Times_ 5/27/06 (logon required)

Mesquite, Texas likely to enter Stage 3 water conservation plan

City planting areas have been scaled back, athletic fields are being watered in a different manner and, in general, the city of Mesquite is making preparations to advance into Stage 3 of the North Texas Municipal Water District’s Drought Contingency Plan. The North Texas Municipal Water District will meet on June 1, and on the agenda is an anticipated upgrade from Stage 2 to Stage 3. Mesquite is one of 13 of the water district’s member cities. Stages are determined by water supply and demand. While some recent rainfall has some area reservoirs beginning to reach acceptable levels, Mesquite’s water supply comes from Lavon Lake, which is still nine feet below its acceptable level. The Star_ 5/26/06

Warmest April on record in U.S.; Drought persists across south and southwest

The contiguous United States experienced its warmest April ever based on records dating back to 1895, according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Drier-than-average conditions and severe drought persisted across large portions of the southern and southwestern United States. The global surface temperature was the seventh warmest April on record. The record for the previously warmest April was set in 1981. April was 4.5 degrees F (2.5 degrees C) above the 20th century (1901-2000) average. The anomalous warmth was concentrated over the south-central United States. Texas and Oklahoma had their warmest April on record, while New Mexico, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee recorded their second warmest. Twelve other states recorded one of their top five warmest Aprils on record. None of the 48 contiguous states was cooler-than average. NOAA_ 5/16/06

U.S. aid available to Colorado farmers for water shut-off
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for Eastern Plains farmers who had their irrigation wells shut off as a result of a recent state engineer ruling.  The declaration means that farmers who suffer an economic loss as a result of the lack of water will be eligible for federal aid.  State engineer Hal Simpson this week moved to shut off more than 400 wells along the South Platte River that provide water for about 200 farms.  Farmers say the move will ruin many of their crops, costing them thousands of dollars in lost sales.  During the 2002 drought, farmers who used groundwater for irrigation adversely affected the flow of the South Platte River and farms that relied on the river's water.  That spurred a 2002 law requiring farmers who use irrigation wells that tap underground aquifers to replace the water they take. For the past three years, the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District has been scrambling to find adequate water supplies to help farmers offset the amount used by the deep irrigation wells.  Denver Post_5/11/06

New Jersey declares drought watch

State Environmental Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson on Monday declared a drought watch in New Jersey, citing little spring precipitation and falling stream and ground water levels in parts of the state. Conditions are most serious in northern New Jersey, and the state Department of Environmental Protection has imposed campfire restrictions there. The drought watch is an early step to raise awareness of low rainfall totals, and at this point, Jackson said, state officials are recommending people take voluntary measures to conserve water. Asbury Park Press_ 5/9/06

Parts of Southeast U.S. fearing drought this year

The Southeast usually receives most of its rainfall during the fall and winter months, when its lakes, rivers and groundwater supplies are recharged. But that didn't occur this year, and dry conditions have continued into the spring. The U.S. Drought Monitor, an online report prepared by several federal agencies, shows normal moisture levels for most of Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. However, it classifies Florida, South Carolina, most of Georgia and smaller portions of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana as unusually dry. A section of central North Carolina already is classified as being in a severe drought, while Virginia and most of North Carolina are in a moderate drought. Virginia had the driest March since record-keeping began in 1895, and some shallow wells were reportedly running dry in eastern North Carolina. Virginia officials said that at this point, it'll probably be difficult to avoid a drought of some magnitude. Southeast Farm Press_ 5/8/06

New Jersey state senators move to sink governor's water tax plan

Senators from both parties Monday expressed opposition to Gov. Jon S. Corzine's plan to require public water consumers to pay a new tax. The levy would cost the average New Jersey household $4 per year and help the state handle droughts, but senators were unconvinced. Corzine, a Democrat, wants the proposed tax - 4 cents per 1,000 gallons of water - to raise $12 million per year to pay for water infrastructure improvements. Corzine wants to improve the state's ability to deliver water during droughts, noting the state has seen five droughts in 13 years but done little to improve water supply. Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson said the cost would be worthwhile. But several senators suggested the state could find $12 million per year for water work somewhere amid $30 billion in annual spending. "You're not getting enough money back for the grief you're going to get," Sen. William Gormley, R-Atlantic, told Jackson. AP/phillyburbs.com_ 5/1/06

Drought in Kansas moderate to severe; ponds drying up and water table dropping

The Kansas prairie could use a drink, with some finally coming to parts of the state Friday. Even so, ranchers say more is needed for the lingering drought to subside. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows most of the state in at least a moderate drought. However, in several counties in south-central and southwest Kansas, conditions are severe. The Arkansas River hasn't flowed in some time to Barton County's Cheyenne Bottoms. Either has the Wet Walnut. And runoff to replenish the wetlands has been nonexistent. Besides farm ponds and crops, drought is crippling lakes and streams. The mild winter caused much of the setback. State Climatologist Mary Knapp said. With little moisture and warm temperatures, stockwater evaporation was greater. Hutchinson, Kansas News_ 5/1/06

April, 2006

Congress considers mid-western U.S. drought bills

Concerned that bone-dry farm states were being upstaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, one Nebraska senator named the Midwest's natural disaster "Drought David." On Thursday, Congress turned its attention to two measures aimed at preparing for future droughts, while offering $3.9 billion in disaster aid to farmers and ranchers. Years of drought conditions came to a head in recent months, with ruined winter crops, ongoing water wars in the west and wildfires across the United States, including 1.5 million scorched acres in Texas. Lawmakers hope to better prepare water users and managers for the dry times ahead through a new national system offering forecasts, early warnings and other information about droughts. Reps. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, and Mark Udall, D-Colo., are sponsoring legislation authorizing Congress to spend nearly $100 million over the next six years on a National Integrated Drought Information System. Centered on a Web site, the system would drill information down to the local level. Stephens Media Group/Arkansas News Bureau_ 4/28/06

Kansas cattlemen worried about grazing, water for herds this summer
Farm ponds that are used to water livestock at the Woodston farm of Jerry McReynolds are so dry this spring he is taking the opportunity to clean silt from their bottom.  Many farmers in north-central Kansas are doing the same thing this spring, he said. "We have been in this dry cycle for six years," McReynolds said. "For the last three years, we have been able to drive through all of our ponds - sad, but true."  Stock water supplies across the state were rated as 36 percent short to very short this week by the Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service.Hauling water to cattle herds is expensive because so many wells have gone dry that farmers must buy the water from their rural water district and then truck it to distant fields where thirsty cattle graze. Watering cattle soon turns into a full-time job in itself.  Kansas.com_4/12/06

Summer water plan on tap for eastern Rockies

Plentiful water supplies up and down the Front Range mean few if any cities, with the exception of Aurora, are considering mandatory water restrictions. Denver Water said its summer water use program is designed to encourage customers continue their water-saving ways as the drought wanes. Rocky Mountain News_ 4/11/06

March, 2006

Late snow good news for water resources

A series of heavy storms over the past month has left an above-average snowpack in the Sierra, good news for the farmers and municipal water users who rely on the massive watershed for their annual water supplies.  Tuesday's snow survey was the fourth of five conducted each winter and spring by the state Department of Water Resources. The surveys help the department gauge how much water will be available during the rest of the year for the 29 agencies and irrigation districts that draw from the State Water Project.  ``It's looking really good right now,'' said Don Strickland, a department official. ``All the reservoirs are pretty much full. . . . It's too bad we don't have more storage.''  Tuesday's reading at Phillips Station, at an elevation of 6,800 feet south of Lake Tahoe, registered a snow depth of 73.1 inches, which is 114 percent of the long-term average.  Mercury News_3/29/06

Water forecast much brighter for Yakima Valley in 2006

Farmers in Eastern Washington's Yakima Valley, hard hit by a drought last year, can expect to receive a full supply of irrigation water this season, the Bureau of Reclamation says in its first water supply forecast for 2006.  The bureau delivered the news Wednesday as yet another snowstorm blew through the Cascades, where snow pack was 106 percent of average on March 1. The water supply forecast, based on precipitation, snow pack and stream flow data, indicates a full supply will be available for all water users in the Yakima River basin.  Seattle Post Intelligencer_3/8/06

January, 2006

It's raining in Seattle ... No, really, this is news

It wasn't too many months ago, during a dry spell, when Seattle civic leaders warned of a possible drought in 2006. The city's drinking supply could run out, they said. Lawns could turn crispy brown. All that worrying has gone down the storm drains, drowned by rainfall that as of Friday had gone on for 26 days in a row. The stretch of wet weather is currently the second-longest on record for the Emerald City — behind 33 straight days in 1953. Forecasters think that record may be in jeopardy, with more rain expected in Seattle over the next 10 days. Los Angeles Times_ 1/14/06 (logon required)


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