Wary farmers watch weak snowpack


February 28, 2024

A fallow field

Kurt Batdorf

TROUBLING WINTER SNOWPACK - A flock of swans graze for morsels in a partially harvested potato field on the east edge of La Conner. A late winter storm dusted parts of lowland Skagit County with snow Feb. 26. With mountain snowpack running far below normal, farmers are concerned about the prospects of drought this year.

Last summer's drought lingered all the way to January before Skagit County officially finally emerged out of it. But that does not mean this year's water situation is secure.

Snowpack in the Cascade Mountains remained well below normal based on Feb. 4 data. The most recent data of snow water equivalent from the Natural Resource Conservation Service shows the North Puget Sound Basin at 50% of the average, based on the period 1991-2020. By contrast, a year ago, the snowpack registered 78%. Nick Bond, Washington's climatologist, was quoted in the Seattle Times saying of the state's snowpack,...

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