State rainfall rises in May, easing drought concerns

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Associated Press
King 5 News

SPOKANE - After a spate of dry weather, rainfall levels across Washington state jumped in May, easing concerns over potential water shortages.

May has made up for the earlier dry weather.
"It's been a fairly dry spring except for May," said Paul Bos, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Spokane.

Following months of below-average levels, rainfall in Spokane was 2 inches above average for the month, while Seattle saw levels at three-quarters of an inch above average.

Olympia's rainfall for May was 0.22 of an inch below normal - a drop in the bucket compared with April, when rainfall was 2.25 inches below normal, said Jeff Rood, meteorologist with the service in Seattle.

After low rainfall in Bellingham during April, steady showers have become the norm, quelling concerns of a water shortage. About 3.2 inches of rain fell at Bellingham International Airport in May, more than an inch above average for the month.

The increase has replenished the dwindling water levels in the Nooksack River and Lake Whatcom.

The main issue remains the state's dwindling snowpack, according to Rood. The dry spell, coupled with unusually warm spring temperatures, caused the much of the snowpack to melt earlier and more quickly than usual, threatening water supplies, fish and forests. The snowfall typically melts throughout early to midsummer, adding water to streams when rainfall drops off.



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