Washington’s Rainy Reputation Won’t Spare It From Drought

All the news that’s fit to fix for Saturday, April 18.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Apr 18, 2015· 0 MIN READ
Rebecca McCray is a staff writer covering social justice. She is based in New York.

Despite Seattle’s reputation for rainy weather, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a drought emergency in nearly half the state on Friday, warning that the classification could encompass the entire state by early May, the Los Angeles Times reported. Last month, a drought emergency had been declared in three regions of Washington state.

“This is an ongoing emergency, and we’re going to have some long, hard months ahead of us,” Inslee said. “We’re moving quickly so that we’re prepared to provide relief to farms and fish this summer.”

Experts said rainfall in the state is normal, but snowpack is just 24 percent of the norm, meaning river flow will be much lower than usual. Washington state last declared a drought in 2005.

In other news…

Death Penalty: On Friday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that makes Oklahoma the first state to permit the use of nitrogen asphyxiation for executions of death row inmates if lethal injection drugs are unavailable. Inmates would inhale pure nitrogen through a gas mask until they couldn’t breathe for lack of oxygen. (via NPR)

Wildlife: Strong winds on the Oregon and Washington coast have washed millions of Velella velalla jellyfish ashore. (via CNN)

Marijuana: Advocates in Arizona have begun collecting signatures to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use on the ballot in 2016. (via Reuters)

Fracking: A bill that would prevent cities from establishing individual bans on hydraulic fracking of oil and gas passed the Texas House of Representatives. (via Reuters)