No big surprise by now, this summer is likely to bring awful drought conditions to the Northwest, especially Western Washington. Following are a few grim selections from a fairly comprehensive article in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

  • "The stream flows are shaping up to be the second or worst year on record," said Richard Palmer, director of the University of Washington’s Center for Water Resources Management.
  • February was the driest month on record and the snowpack is the lowest it’s been in 50 years.
  • Western Washington has already had a few small forest fires—typically unheard of during this usually soggy time of year.
  • The [mountain] snowpack is only at about 15 percent of its normal level.

Climate scientists, who are quoted extensively in the piece, are warning that this summer’s drought should not be perceived as a unique emergency, but instead, "as perhaps a glimpse into what will become routine for the near future."