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Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday expanded Washington’s drought to cover nearly half the state, including most of Central Washington’s tree fruit production areas. (Courtesy Washington State Department of Ecology)



A recent spell of rainy weather hasn’t helped much. Washington’s drought has officially gotten worse anyway.

Gov. Jay Inslee has expanded a drought emergency declaration to cover nearly half the state, including most of Central Washington’s tree fruit production area, according to a new release Monday from the state Department of Ecology.

Despite last week’s showers, rainfall totals for the state remain below normal, the release said. Meanwhile, snow pack conditions are less than half of average for this time of year and Department of Ecology experts expect warm, dry weather to cause the pack to melt quickly, reducing water availability this summer.

The drought expansion comes on the heels of Inslee’s initial declaration on April 4 for just three state water sheds — the Methow, Okanagan and Upper Yakima basins. Monday’s announcement adds 24 more to the list, for 27 total.

To keep tabs on Washington’s drought, visit the Department of Ecology’s water supply webpage at ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-supply.

—by Ross Courtney