Those glorious hot days are causing rapid snowmelt | KUOW News and Information

Those glorious hot days are causing rapid snowmelt

May 10, 2016

The unusually warm spring has let gardeners do some early planting, but it signals problems ahead for Washington farmers. The warm weather is causing snow in the mountains to melt faster than normal.

Just last month snowpack levels were normal, even high, across Washington. But several days in the 80s have caused it to melt rapidly.

Federal hydrologist Scott Pattee says come late summer, there won't be much left to supply Washington farmers with water and to keep rivers high enough for fish. Pattee is with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Pattee: "When we get into the late summer, I think that we're really going to see a drastic decrease in our runoff. The snow that melts in late June and even July in the high country is already coming off, and I'm afraid it's just going to be gone."

It was a good winter for snowfall. As of May 9, though, the snowpack is down to 64 percent of normal statewide.

Pattee says Washington is in better shape than last summer when there was a statewide drought. But he says it's a good idea to practice water conservation all year round.