For the first time since March 2020, there is no severe drought in Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. — All of this rain is doing wonders for the Inland Northwest. For the first time since March 2020, there is no severe drought in the state of Washington.

Severe drought is considered Levels 3 to 5 on the Drought Monitor. Back in October, we were at the top of the scale at exceptional drought, which is the worst you can get, but a few rainy months have made a big difference.

Svr Drought 2022

Spring Rainz 2022

Rain around the region since the end of September is okay, but nothing spectacular. If not for the last couple of months, we’d still be in big trouble.

Rain doesn’t always mean the end of the drought, but it certainly helps. The Washington Department of Ecology still has five watersheds in the Inland Northwest under a drought declaration.

Something else that also helps: colder temperatures.

Water Year Temps 2022


In general, cooler weather keeps the relative humidity higher, which slows down the process that causes drought in the first place. It’s been much cooler than normal from October to now in early June.

Every tree, every flower, every stalk of wheat, every blade of grass and every acre of soil has moisture locked inside it. When it gets hot and dry, the thirsty atmosphere draws moisture out and we end up with drought if this goes on long enough.

Drought Cycle

Source: Climate Central

Right now, though, the opposite is true. We’re gaining moisture that can be used later when it eventually gets hot and dry again.

We’re not quite sure when that will be, but definitely not this week. Another atmospheric river just arrived in the Inland Northwest, which means more rain, more cool afternoons and another week spent waiting for summer.

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