Dec 11, 2015

Wild Northwest weather eases drought worries

Washington
Oregon
USA
by
Donna Blankinship, Lisa Baumann
,
Business Insider
Natasha Jackson snaps a photo of the remains of a vehicle crushed by a bigleaf maple tree along W. 11th Ave. in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. An overnight storm brought rain and strong winds to the southern Willamette Valley. Photo: Brian Davies, The Register-Guard, AP
Natasha Jackson snaps a photo of the remains of a vehicle crushed by a bigleaf maple tree along W. 11th Ave. in Eugene, Ore., Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. An overnight storm brought rain and strong winds to the southern Willamette Valley. Photo: Brian Davies, The Register-Guard, AP

Fierce Northwest storms that sent rivers bursting from their banks, closed roadways and produced a rare tornado have had one positive effect — easing summer drought concerns that prompted cities to active water shortage plans...

The moisture is helping to fill reservoirs earlier and recharging the groundwater, said Scott Pattee, water supply specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service based in Mount Vernon. But “a lot of this rain is going down hard so it’s flowing straight through the snowpack, and it’s not adding to it,” he added. Much of Washington’s water supply depends on mountain snowpack that builds over winter, and melts in spring and summer. The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor Thursday showed the area west of the Cascade Mountains in Washington is no longer in drought.