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29

counties with USDA Drought Disaster Designations (primary)

Change of
0
counties since last week
1.1 Million

Washington residents in areas of drought, according to the Drought Monitor

Increase of
47.7%
since last week
49th

wettest June on record (since 1895)

2.09 in.
total precipitation
Increase of
0.20 in.
from normal
57th

driest January—June on record (since 1895)

21.01 in.
total precipitation
Decrease of
0.90 in.
from normal
Current Washington Drought Maps

Drought & Dryness Categories
% of WA
45.5
32.6
6.4
0.0
0.0
39.0
Drought Change Since Last Week
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions

Experimental
Experimental

Drought in Washington

Washington State bases its drought determinations on a drought definition found in state law. The definition is water supply-focused and includes both a hydrometeorological and impact threshold. An area is considered to be in drought when the water supply for that geographic area, or for a significant portion of that geographic area, is below or projected to be below 75% of normal and the water shortage is likely to create undue hardships for water users or the environment. Normal water supply is defined as the median amount of water available for the most recent official climate period (currently 1991–2020).   

Snowpack is critical to Washington’s water supply. Approximately three-quarters of the runoff from the Cascades originates as snowpack. (How much runoff originates as snow?) This snowpack acts as a natural reservoir, and a weak snowpack or a shift in the timing of snowmelt can impact water supply in the spring and summer. Some lower-elevation basins are more rain-dominant, and spring precipitation is important for filling up soil moisture before the summer dry period develops. Annual precipitation varies drastically across the state, with coastal Washington receiving over 80 inches of precipitation, on average, and parts of the Lower Columbia Basin east of the Cascade Mountains receiving less than 10 inches. When making drought determinations, the state Water Supply Availability Committee considers forecasted conditions in addition to existing conditions. Streamflow forecasts from both the National Weather Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are primary factors, but other hydrometeorological variables are considered as well.  

In response to drought in the region, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) launched the Pacific Northwest Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) in 2016, encompassing Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and western Montana. The Pacific Northwest DEWS is a network of regional and national partners that share information and coordinate actions to help communities in the region cope with drought.

Reach out to Britt Parker, the Regional Drought Coordinator for this region, for more information, or sign up for the Pacific Northwest DEWS newsletter.

Washington State Drought Resources

Washington Current Conditions

A number of physical indicators are important for monitoring drought, such as precipitation & temperature, water supply (e.g., streamflow, reservoirs), and soil moisture. Learn more about monitoring drought.

Washington Precipitation Conditions

Inches of Precipitation
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%
Percent of Normal Precipitation (%)
100%

Washington Temperature Conditions

Maximum Temperature (°F)
60
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0
Departure from Normal Max Temperature (°F)
0

Washington Streamflow Conditions

Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions
Streamflow Conditions

Washington Soil Moisture Conditions

20 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100
0–100 cm Soil Moisture Percentile
70
100

Outlooks & Forecasts for Washington

Predicting drought in Washington depends on the ability to forecast precipitation and temperature within the context of complex climate interactions. View more outlooks & forecasts.

Future Precipitation & Temperature Conditions

Predicted Inches of Precipitation
1.75
Probability of Below-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Precipitation
100%
Probability of Below-Normal Temperatures
100%
Probability of Above-Normal Temperatures
100%

Drought Outlooks for Washington

Drought Is Predicted To...
Drought Is Predicted To...

Historical Drought Conditions in Washington

Drought is a normal climate pattern that has occurred in varying degrees of length, severity, and size throughout history. Below, you can look back at past drought conditions for Washington according to 3 historical drought indices. The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly map that shows the location and intensity of drought across the country since 2000. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a monthly depiction of drought based on precipitation (with data going back to 1895). And the paleoclimate data uses tree-ring reconstructions to estimate drought conditions before we had widespread instrumental records, going back to the year 0 for some parts of the U.S. View more historical conditions.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor (2000–present) depicts the location and intensity of drought across the country. Every Thursday, authors from NOAA, USDA, and the National Drought Mitigation Center produce a new map based on their assessments of the best available data and input from local observers. The map uses five categories: Abnormally Dry (D0), showing areas that may be going into or are coming out of drought, and four levels of drought (D1–D4). Learn more.

Drought Resources for Washington

Stay Informed: Local Drought Updates

Drought Alert Emails
Get email updates when U.S. Drought Monitor conditions change for your location or a new drought outlook is released.

Regional Drought Status Updates
NIDIS & its partners issue regional updates covering drought conditions, outlooks/forecasts, and local impacts.

Pacific Northwest Drought Email List
Get regional drought status updates right to your inbox, as well as drought news, webinars, and other events for the Pacific Northwest.

Pacific Northwest DEWS Drought & Climate Outlook Webinars
These webinars provide the region with timely information on current and developing drought conditions, as well as climatic events like El Niño and La Niña.

Get Involved: Submit Local Drought Impacts

Drought in your area? Tell us how drought is impacting your community by submitting a condition monitoring report. Your submissions help us better understand how drought is affecting local conditions.