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Reservoirs low, despite heavy snows

Washington, USA
Reservoirs low, despite heavy snows - Usually, melting snows and spring rains combine to fill the lakes before the summer recreation season. “There’s a lot of snow, but we haven’t had a lot of rain.” So even though current measurements of mountain snowpack throughout Washington exceed historical levels, the delayed melt-off and scant recent rainfall together mimic a drought. That’s particularly true on the Cowlitz River, which feeds Riffe Lake, where the water level hasn’t been this low since the 2001 drought. That’s a troubling comparison for power managers because 2001 was a crisis year for energy supplies. "April stream flow data, it’s just way, way down." Many of the dozens of snowpack stations have SET RECORDS FOR SNOW ACCUMULATIONS AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. “IT'S NOT MELTING, AND IT SHOULD BE." Experts blame the delay on colder-than-normal April temperatures. Also, total April precipitation did not measure up to historical averages. Usually, mountain snows begin to melt between March and mid-April. By the end of April, it was already two weeks late. It’s too early to say whether this year will set any records for delayed melt-off. "It’s a really good year for late snowpack. It is UNUSUAL from the aspect that it’s not melting.” The late melt could reduce the effect of evaporation, leaving more water in the rivers for power production, as well as fish, later in the summer. On April 30, meteorologists came out with their latest 30-day outlook. The forecast: below-normal temperatures and precipitation.

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