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Spokane hits severe drought to start June

Spokane's drought worsened to severe levels to start June and all of Washington is forecast to be in a drought by the end of August.
Credit: KREM 2 Weather

SPOKANE, Wash. — It has been a dry Spring for Spokane and nearly all of Washington. For the western U.S., summer is the driest season on average and that does not bode well for our drought situation.

As of the June 3 drought monitor update, drought conditions have expanded and worsened across Washington. Now, 68% of the state is reporting at least moderate drought conditions, with Spokane now under a severe drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor, the leading source used to indicate drought conditions across the county, updates the drought map weekly every Thursday morning. The collaborative effort between the National Drought Mitigation Center, the US Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been reporting drought conditional nationwide since 2000.

There are four stages of drought intensity: moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional. The US Drought Monitor also reports a stage before drought known as abnormally dry. 

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Spokane has seen just 67-hundreths of an inch of rain since the start of meteorological spring on March 1, 2021. In the past three months, the rain deficit swelled to just shy of four inches below average.

Meteorologist summer averages 2.23 inches of rain for Spokane, with June itself averaging the most of that chunk at 1.25 inches. It's the months of July, August and September that are incredibly dry, averaging about one-half an inch of year a year.

Credit: Climate Prediction Center

Even if we hit close to average, that often doesn't reverse course of drought conditions in the summer time. That means it's likely the drought only has one direction to go and that's worse yet. The Climate Prediction Center forecasts that the entire state of Washington, along with the whole of the west coast and Rocky Mountains, will be in a drought by the end of August. 

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