Clark, Skamania counties in drought emergency

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee expanded the state’s drought emergency to include all of Clark and Skamania counties and most of Cowlitz County.

Half the state of Washington is expected to experience problems due to the dry conditions in the coming months. Inslee said the runoff from the snowmelt this summer is projected to be the lowest on record in 64 years. Currently it is just 24% of normal.

Fish habitats may be severely impacted and some Northwest officials said they’re already worried about farmers running out of water.

“It’s a very large concern this year because it’s reactive of several years of drought, not just an individual drought,” said Jim Johnson with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “Bottom line, less planting equals less production equals less income into the farmers pockets.”

Right now, 24 river basins among 62 in Washington are expected to experience hardships from drought — 16 watersheds in western Washington and eight in eastern Washington.

Though Washington has previously experienced drought, the department of ecology’s director said this year is unique because there has been normal rainfall but little snow in the mountains.

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