Rapid snowmelt already evident in dramatic change to area waterways

first_imgIt doesn’t take long to ruin a good thing.In April, Southwest Washington was coming out of winter with a healthy mountain snowpack of around 125 percent above normal — a good sign for the upcoming dry season; but it only took a few weeks to dramatically reduce an entire winter’s worth of snow accumulation.“It was those extreme temperatures through the whole month,” said Scott Pattee, a water supply specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “Once it started, it was a runaway.”April was the third-wettest April in state history. May was not only the second warmest but also the 12th driest May on record since 1895. That put a huge dent in the mountain snowpack.In May, snow measurement stations at Swift Creek, on the southern slope of Mount St. Helens, recorded a loss of 79 inches of snow, and nearby June Lake lost 72.Warm, dry conditions in early June only made things worse in this region and throughout all of Western Washington, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.last_img read more